Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
Writing.Com's Content Rating System (CRS) is used to rate the content of each item found on our website. Writing.Com does not normally censor or restrict content posted to the site; however, we do require that content posted to our site be rated properly according to our proprietary* guidelines.
Assigning a Content Rating To Your Item's Intro
After deciding on your item's title and brief description, you must assign a content rating to this intro area. This intro rating is not displayed on public listings and is only used as a guide for the item's placement within Writing.Com's public listings. General members can only see an item's content rating on public listings; the intro's rating is only visible from within the item's header. Please assign a content rating of E or Non-E so that the Writing.Com system can determine which public listings should display it.
E: Everyone of all ages
An E-rated intro is suitable for everyone of any age. There are absolutely no references to sex (other than gender), drugs (legal/illegal), alcohol, violence, cursing (of any kind), derogatory names or any combination thereof. These titles are displayed for members who have their rating preferences set to 18+ and below.
Non-E: Not Everyone of all ages
A Non-E rated intro is not suitable for everyone of any age. There may be references to sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, cursing, derogatory names or any combination thereof. These titles are displayed for all members who have their rating preferences set to also include GC and above.
Assigning a Content Rating To Your Entire Item
The Content Rating of an item covers the entire item. It must reflect the highest level of content shown anywhere within any part of the item, including the title, brief description and body. Authors must choose a rating for an item's content in order for it to show up on Writing.Com's public listings. All members have a rating preference, whether that be our default setting of E-18+ or a custom setting of their own. An item's content must be rated correctly when being displayed on our public listings.
Please judge your content based on the following Writing.Com rating guidelines:
E : Everyone
ASR : Adult Supervision Recommended
13+ : Recommended for Readers 13 Years and Older Only
18+ : Recommended for Readers 18 Years and Older Only
GC : May Contain Graphic Content
XGC : May Contain Extreme Graphic Content
NPL : Not Publicly Listed
This rating signifies that the content of this item is intended for everyone of all ages. There are absolutely no references to sex (other than gender), drugs (legal/illegal), alcohol, violence, cursing (of any kind), derogatory names or any combinations thereof. There is absolutely no cursing or slang that is meant as a replacement for swearing (such as "dang", "darn", etc.). This includes implications of swearing such as "What the..." or "Holy ****!". (For more information, please read: "Please Keep It E!" .)
ASR: Adult Supervision Recommended
Under 13 with Supervision, 13 and Older
This rating signifies that the content of this item should not be viewed by minors alone, but accompanied with adult supervision (parent, guardian, teacher, etc.). The item may contain some content that is not appropriate for readers of less than 13 years of age and is recommended to be read by an adult first to be sure it is appropriate for the minor. The item may contain very mild slang curse words (dang, darn, etc.) or mild derogatory words (idiot, jerk, etc.). This does not include phonetic spellings of harsher swear words. Horror and violence may exist at an extremely mild level, but does not exceed moderate levels. There are absolutely no references to sex (other than gender), drugs (illegal), alcohol, graphic violence, harsh or sexually derived cursing, harsh derogatory names, or any combinations thereof.
13+: Recommended for Readers 13 Years and Older Only
13 and Older
This rating signifies that the content of this item is intended for readers 13 years of age and older and may be inappropriate for any minor under the age of 13. We recommend that supervising adults not allow such minors to read 13+ content. Horror and violence may exist at a moderate level, but not extreme. There may be mild references to sex, drugs or alcohol, but do not exceed mild levels. Mild swearing may be used, but no use of the harsher sexually derived words may be found, absolutely no completed F-word, or phonetic spellings of such words.
18+: Recommended for Readers 18 Years and Older Only
18 and Older
This rating signifies that the content of this item is intended for readers 18 years of age and older and may be inappropriate for any minor under the age of 18. This item may contain references to sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, harsh or sexually derived cursing, derogatory names, one instance of the completed (or phonetically spelled) F-word, and/or combination thereof.
GC: May Contain Graphic Content
18 and Older, Not Easily Offended
This rating signifies that the content of this item is intended for those readers 18 years of age and older who are not easily offended by graphic material. This item may contain excessive references to sex, drugs, violence, harsh or sexually derived cursing, derogatory names or combination thereof.
XGC: May Contain Extreme Graphic Content
18 and Older, Not Offended
This rating signifies that the content of this item is intended for those readers 18 years of age and older who are not offended by extremely graphic material. This item may contain extreme or obsessive levels of sex, drugs, violence, harsh or sexually derived cursing, derogatory names or combination thereof.
NPL: Not Publicly Listed
If an author does not wish for an item to appear on Writing.Com's public listing, he or she may choose NPL. This will keep the item out of the public listings, but will still display it from within the author's portfolio (unless he or she sets it to private). Authors may wish to use this option for drafts, works in progress or for any other personal reason.
Important Guidelines for the Rating System
Usernames, handles, billboards, and portfolio covers
Usernames, handles, billboards, and portfolio Covers are all publicly visible and thus their content MUST be kept to an E rating. Writing.Com is a site for readers and writers of all ages, beliefs and levels of sensitivity. For this reason, we strive to keep our public areas and member identifications suitable for everyone. While you personally may feel that a word is suitable for everyone (E), a parent, teacher or child may feel otherwise. For this reason, we are very strict about our E-rated public listing requirements.
Titles and Brief Descriptions
Titles and Brief Descriptions must be rated properly. Please be sure to rate your item's Intro correctly. If you choose to use words that exceed an E-rating in your item's title or brief description, please be sure that you choose the Non-E rating for it so that it shows up on the proper listings. If your item's Intro is rated E and found to contain Non-E rated words in its title or description, your item's Intro may be changed to a Non-E rating by a Writing.Com Moderator or Staff. This action will simply move the item to the proper public listing. The item will continue to display in those listings, from within the Author's portfolio or via direct item links without any interruption.
If your item's Intro has been adjusted to a Non-E rating and you choose to edit the title or brief to an E-rating, you may post here: "Content Rating Support" [18+] and request to have the Intro's rating changed back to E.
Be sure to properly rate your item's "language". We try to make smooth transitions through our rating levels and what type of language each level allows. If an author has just one instance of the completed "F" word in an item's body, he/she must place it at least at an 18+ rating. Excessive use of this word bumps it to GC.
When In Doubt
If in doubt, lean to the higher rating. When rating the content of any item on Writing.Com, it is necessary to err on the side of caution. This means if an item is on the borderline and you are undecided between rating an item 13+ or 18+, choose the higher rating of 18+. Always lean to the higher rating when you are in doubt. If something is so borderline that you just can't decide if it should be rated higher, then chances are, it should indeed be rated higher. At Writing.Com, our community consists of readers with varying ages, backgrounds and preferences. For this reason, we try to keep the ratings on items as accurate as possible for everyone.
Correct Rating At All Times
Interactive items need to be rated correctly at all times. When an interactive item such as a message forum, interactive story, campfire or in & out is created, the purpose of the forum's content is by what it should be rated. If messages that are posted in this interactive item go beyond the item's original rating, then the rating of that item must be adjusted according to the highest rated content of those messages. The only way the item's rating does not have to change is if the Author or participating member deletes that particular message or entry.
A folder's Content Rating should represent the visible contents of the folder, regardless of what the content rating is of the items housed within it. The visible contents of a folder include:
The Folder's title, brief description, cover image and body text.
The visible titles of items in the folder.
The visible brief descriptions of items in the folder.
The visible cover images of items in the folder.
Under this policy, even if a folder contains an 18+ item, as long as the intro rating for that item is "E", it will NOT affect the Folder's content rating. If the intro rating of an item contained within a folder is "NON-E", then the folder's content rating should reflect the highest rating of language used in the intro.
The Final Say
Authors at Writing.Com may choose the content about which to write; they do not, however, have the final say of a rating for it. If the Writing.Com Staff or Moderators feel that an item is inappropriately rated as defined by our guidelines, we will adjust the rating as we see fit. This only changes the rating and will NOT censor it from public view. Writing.Com Staff and Moderators will not argue with an Author over his or her rating.
Set Your Preference for Your Content Rating Filter
Members and guests can choose the content rating levels they want to see in the site listings. The content rating filter may be set with a drop-down menu displayed at a number of point-of-use locations on the site, such as the results pages of site Search, either type of Browse By page, the Bloggers page, the Reviewers page and any review listing pages including your Reviews tab, and either Newsfeed page. There are many places where the drop-down menu is displayed, but only one setting. Changing one drop-down menu changes them all on subsequent page loads. The default setting for the Writing.Com content rating filter is E thru 18+. If a member wants to view items content rated only ASR and under, he or she may set that preference from any of the drop-down menus. Similarly, if members want to view items above 18+, they may do so using the same method. The content rating filter is used only in the public listing areas. If a member chooses an item from within an author's portfolio or clicks a link from any page, the item may be viewed regardless of the member's content rating filter setting. The default setting is in effect for the general unregistered public (guests), but guests may change their content rating filter setting for that particular visit to Writing.Com.
Assigning a Rating to an Image
Images must be rated properly. Images on Writing.Com must also be rated properly according to our guidelines. Also, please be aware and use discretion when using your images in signatures, which appear in emails and message posts. Emails, in particular, are a public service on Writing.Com and as such, you should pay particular attention to the rating of the image that is contained in your signature. We recommend only sending E rated images in email unless you know the member and have previously corresponded with him or her. Sending inappropriate images to unsuspecting viewers is considered harassment. Please see "Image Item Info" [13+] for more information on images.1
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I filter the items I see in public listings by content ratings?
Yes, but note that our filtering system only excludes items based on content rating from our public listing pages. It does not affect other areas of the site and will not block any items or pages from being viewed. The rating filter will only remove higher-rated items from our public listing pages for you. You can change your content rating filter setting with the drop-down menu displayed at the top of your Newsfeed page or at another point-of-use location, such as this one: http://www.writing.com/main/list_items/item_type/statics. The default content rating filter setting for both guests and logged-in members excludes items with Non-E intro ratings or GC and higher content ratings from our public listing pages.
Why don't I see any work rated GC or XGC in the public listings?
To help shield our younger users from content not appropriate to them, the default filter setting excludes items with Non-E intro ratings or GC and higher content ratings from our public listings. If you wish to have this content included in the public listings while you are on Writing.Com, you must change your content rating filter setting with the drop-down menu displayed at the top of your Newsfeed page or at another point-of-use location, such as this one: http://www.writing.com/main/list_items/item_type/statics. This link can be used by both members and guests (non-members). Guests will need to reset their content filter each time they visit the site. Any changes to the filter made by a logged-in member will only need to be made one time, will be stored in their account profile for later use, and may be changed again at any time.
I can't remember these. Is there somewhere I can look to get a quick reminder?
When you are viewing an item, you can click the rating at the top to open a small popup window which will briefly explain each content rating.
I have a question regarding content ratings, where can I get help?
If you have any questions regarding the Writing.Com content rating system, please visit "Content Rating Support" [18+].
* The Writing.Com Content Rating System (CRS) is our own, unique system for rating online content and is proprietary to our community. Our CRS and its ratings may not be copied or modified in any way.