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Lets talk about a content/age rating system for Sticky

A topic by leafo created Jul 02, 2018 Views: 3,869 Replies: 76
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If you are an 18+ adult and need 'trigger warnings' by others to get through life, then perhaps you should get off the internet :P

It is not the responsibility of ANYONE else to account for infantilized inadequate pseudo-children masquerading as adults and demanding that others cater to them.  That's how CHILDREN make demands.  They are not adults and not suitable to be treated as adults so therefore they should be denied access to adult content without further question or consideration.  Take your trigger warnings and bugger the hell off the net already.

Literally the only people that I believe could possibly have a strong case for desiring 'trigger' warnings would be military veterans with PTSD.  That's about the only type of group I could sympathize with to some extent but I still wouldn't feel 'trigger' warnings are a good idea.  The individual needs treatment and society should not be required to bend over backwards for their individual situation.


German board games have a self-rated "suggested age" that is more about the cognitive difficulty and the themes, so a non-violent game about politics would be 12+, Chutes & Ladders is 4+ and Catan is 10+.  Probably not a lot of four-year-olds on itch though...

But in that context, "adult themes" would be more along the lines of "Kirby does his taxes".


Or "Yoshi cooks his ledger file", if you want to build on that.

everyone has a butt and the le leche league has made breasts a non-issue as it has been for most of history, so on visual it's just whether genitalia are shown or not.

on sex there would be E none- T spooning/natural mounting like in nature- or AO unnatural sex acts like missionary position

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Hello leafo.  I'm the derp that complained about the 'claim' option on free games, lol.  I appreciate your feedback/info on that last page and it allowed me to get in touch with many indie devs that weren't aware of how that claim system works.

I'm gonna do a few feedback bits here related to this rating system you posted about.

I would like to request clear & consistent 'content descriptors' and a simple '18+' descriptor in the title of any game that is marked as having mature sexual content and/or excessive violence.  All this would be down to the devs marking their games as such.

In addition, you could get the itch io community to also help by giving 'itch points' to those who help by rating/marking games with accurate community-contributed content descriptors.  Devs and the rest of the community would be able to look at them and upvote the good ones.  Then itch points could be used in raffles for games contributed by devs (and the winner could choose which game they wanted).

I'd love for the removal of downvoting comments/stuff on in order to deter trolls who merely disagree with the post rather than having a valid reason for doing so.

I'm strongly AGAINST censorship of any kind.  Allow the community to report the devs/games that break the itchio rules/ToS and to allow adults to purchase any (legal) lewd/violent content if they want to do so.  All I'd want is that each game has the 18+ thing in the title so I can see at a glance if this is one of THOSE games or if there is more than sex in the game.


no, voting system will always get abused. There is never a perfect way to make voting system, people will find a flaw and abuse it.

Those who abuse the system would have their itch accounts banned & an IP ban put in place to deter them from making new ones.  Itch already has a system for Two-Factor Authentication so make that a mandatory requirement when making a new account.  Even the most ardent trolls will find it cumbersome to go through the entire 'make a new account' process alongside creating new 2FA info & verifying it every single time.

If itch wants to go further to prevent abuse, they could require phone verification with a valid phone number via SMS.  That would significantly cut down on a lot of potential abuse.  However, that would also exclude a lot of people so I feel the 2FA requirement becoming mandatory would be a nice middle-ground, even for those without phones.

Doesn't work, Steam has an even more annoying system and trolls as well as scammers go to the process. Newgrounds is not even inmunite to this either, trolls will make somewhere to 10 accounts, rise them up weekly and they would have something to affect voting. Not even Voat was able to come up with a better voting system, the best they can do is delay the abuse and try to find them.

Voting is always a bad idea.


Content Descriptors and an 18+ age gate is all you'd really need.  Best way to go would be to make it 100% self-reported and have games that don't fill out their content report de-listed from search results by default.

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I would like the ability to 'hide' or 'block' a creator.  If they make a bunch of games that I don't like then I don't ever want to see them or any of their games in my feed.  I know we can 'follow' someone so surely we can do the opposite (block them) perhaps.

I'd love to see a way to limit the number of characters a developer can use for the game title.  Some devs deliberately make it so long that the end-user is unable to see the price of the game itself.  This is an abuse/exploit of the system and I hope this can be changed.

Alternatively, have the price/discount be displayed separately from the title at all times.


speaking of titles they may want to look into restricting the ability of a dev to change the title of a work. for example let's say the sell a game "X", then later they change the title to "X demo" or "X version 0.001". this happens a lot with adult games when the dev abandons the itch version in preference to selling on patron, or decides to milk the audience for more, granted milking could be somewhat defended if they had initially sold the game as "X demo" or "X version 0.001", but to sell it as "X" then downgrade it is a bit bait and switch. 

I'd love to see a mandatory archival system for 'older versions' where developers can NOT prevent customers who paid for a game from downloading an older version prior to an update.  That way if a future update 'nerfs' a game and/or removes features/content then customers have some recourse and aren't screwed out of money.


What about a system like AO3 (Archive Of Our Own), where the content alerts are tags, and "Creator Chooses Not to Use Content Warnings" is an option? That would be backwards-compatible, for the current database, where creators could then go in and update records. The feasibility of this does of course depend on how your database is set up.

AO3 also by default has a "Hey, might have adult content!" warning page that pops up before you can even access fanfic not specifically marked as okay, unless you have specifically set that it's okay.


Which reminds me that I recently joined Dreamwidth, which also has an interesting system. Namely, there are three levels:

  • no age restriction;
  • viewer discretion advised;
  • age 18+;

and then there's a freeform text field "reason for age restriction". So you get the benefits of predefined categories combined with descriptive content warnings. It does raise the obvious question of where to draw the lines, but it's an approach to consider.


I was hoping someone would have brought this up! Love AO3's system to bits.

Would love to hear some updated feedback from Leafo on this.  Is this going to be done?  Can we get a blog about this?

Hiya! I really love the content tags idea that lots of people have been bringing up (especially the added suggested tags for seizure and trigger warnings!). And I believe that tagging your content should be a mandatory step for devs when creating a game page, not an option in a sub-menu somewhere--that way there's less chance of mistakes being made. My favorite way to implement this which was mentioned a couple times were some simple buttons that the devs click on with the option to specify a little more about each one. 

I also think that the categorization of games into the broader three groups - Everyone, Mature Audiences, and Adults--is much, much better than specific age ranges. But I don't know if that should be determined by the devs or the site--maybe, depending on what developers select in their content tags, "recommends" a category, but creators can override it?

Lastly, my biggest concern as a creator is what to do if, for some horrible reason, a group uses the flagging system for miscategorizing to try and harrass a developer or try to get their game taken down. I'm not as worried on such a progressive and considerate place like, but I've seen it used before on creators on other platforms, so, y'know, it's on my mind!


The report system goes to the people for review it is not a robot job like steam or youtube does.

Anyone who needs 'trigger warnings' is not adult enough to be on the internet without the supervision of another non-triggered standard actual adult.

Life sucks, get a helmet.  :P


You've said that before. Can you please drop it? People have been complaining. Staff has decided to take no action, but that was the first time.

On a personal note, if you think adults can't be triggered, you must be very, very young and with an untroubled life. No offense.

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Mod is gonna mod me.  Better not.  I'll pastebin it from my Discord if anyone is interested.
Congrats mod, you have succeeded in censoring my free expression.  Have a cookie.


There are three problems with what you said:

  1. I already pointed out you're not in trouble. It was a polite request. You on the other hand are being rude and disrespectful.
  2. "Censorship" doesn't mean what you think it means. Itch is a private venture. If our admins did decide to take measures against you (which, again, they haven't), they'd be entirely within their right to do so.
  3. Yelling "censorship" the moment someone asks you nicely not to say certain things is a tactic most commonly associated with a kind of people you really, really don't want to be associated with.

Please reconsider.


I'd like to add that I think that the "Everyone, Mature, Adults Only" distinction is a good idea that I've seen work on other sites, and that I think the middle ground of "mature" would be particularly nice for my current projects. The current two settings—"acceptable to absolutely everyone" or "so adult this game is hidden from normal browsing"—are a bit extreme, and I think there are a lot of works that hit a middle ground.

As for other types of content warnings… a lot of ideas have been thrown around, but I think simply lifting the 10 tag limit would satisfy the vast majority of use cases with a feature the site already has. I imagine the current limitation was instated largely to prevent tag spamming, but I think people here have presented use cases for more detailed metadata that are compelling enough that they may outweigh the moderation headache.

In addition, I think the ad hoc nature of tags is better suited for a job like this than something more organized and curated. I imagine that the types of content warnings people could potentially use are varied enough that attempting to make a set list of them would be an exercise in futility, particularly with adult content. 

I do think there should be leeway for individual developer judgment with this, though. For example, while in terms of age ratings, Doki Doki Literature Club should likely be required to at least be marked "mature," I do not believe the developers of it should be subject to disciplinary action for saying "this game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed" instead of something more specific. I'm not sure if this is even remotely in the cards, but it does seem like whether something like this could happen is very dependent on the details of how content warnings are implemented and moderated.

You could have something slightly granular: what I'm immediatly picturing is something like scrollbars for each area of content. For example some words might have a great deal of sexual content, while other may only be mature in terms of violence. In this approach, the one who pick the content can figure out whether it works for them based on the severity of any given factor.

Sources of inspiration: Interestingly enough, privacyfeatures as a firefox addon. You can toggle different features on and off to suit your needs. This is something I'm envisioning for ratings systems.

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Age ratings are really complex, because it changes from country to country.

While partially nudity may give a "Teen" rating in some countries, in others it will give "Mature", etc.

I'm personally using the age ratings and content descriptions of my country, since I decided to focus only in the local market for the ease of administration purposes. Truth be said, how a single person can deal with global audience alone? Development, translation, localization, tech support, age ratings. Now multiply the amount of work by each language you decide to add support to (of course, if I had more persons working with me it could be done).

I think that if using something that already exists (like IARC) is a hassle, letting developers cope with age ratings at their own could be a better solution.

What could be a good solution would be to add a separate "age tags" section instead of a complete system with description and such. "Everyone", "Teen", "Mature", "Adult-Only" and "Non-Rated" for example. It still could lead to some headaches depending of the customer country though.

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