I've a few questions which may seem a bit irritating for persons under 16 (18?) or with a particular view/belief on things. I'm talking about hunting questions with explicit content. Things like "how to quarter a moose?" etc. Questions which have explicit pictures and/or videos in itself or its answers.

Should we somehow tag them? Like "How to quarter a moose? [EXPLICIT]" or something? How do we handle pictures etc.? Is the spoiler mark down1) enough?

1) The spoiler markdown puts pictures behind a carpet:

This is hidden

  • 2
    Spoiler markdown seems fine to me and has been used on the site before.
    – Aravona
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:36
  • @Aravona Without any tag in the title?
    – OddDeer
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:46
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    I personally would put the warning above the image, and hide it. Because the questions / answers can be acceptable on their own as just descriptive. Taking your example, preparing an animal for food in a hunting question is part of life. If it was about the mutilation or mistreatment of animals then that's a different matter and would be explicit. My local butchers doesn't have an 'Explicit!' sign outside it. The clue would be in the title itself. You could put 'not suitable for vegetarians' in your post?
    – Aravona
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:51
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    @Aravona Yep, that butcher analogy makes sense and the "not suitable for vegetarians" made me laugh :D
    – OddDeer
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:53
  • While this does make sense, I haven't really come across a situation/post wherein anyone has expressed his/her concern/critic over questions that might appear Explicitly not suitable for him/her.
    – WedaPashi Mod
    Aug 16, 2016 at 10:10
  • @WedaPashi On the other hand we haven't had any truly explicit questions yet.
    – OddDeer
    Aug 16, 2016 at 10:59
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    I don't think we need to handle this in advance. As long as it is just a few questions, we can handle it case by case. In case it becomes a common thing we can still set a guideline. I remember one answer and there it was solved with spoiler markdown, that really is enough. Anyway explicit images should only be there when they are relevant and in this case much warning should not be necessary.
    – imsodin
    Aug 16, 2016 at 11:57
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    This is probably partly a cultural clash, as in US blue state/red state. Also, a lot of people have no problem eating meat from an animal that's been effectively tortured nonstop for its entire life in a factory farm, but it really upsets them to think about a hunter killing an animal to eat.
    – user2169
    Aug 26, 2016 at 3:24
  • In the list of questions tagged zoology at Biology:SE, one says "Warning graphic content" in the title. I saw that and didn't even read the whole title until I decided to write this. The body might have pictures we'd rather link to, or text we shouldn't use, but I don't know what they consider graphic. The first lines of visible text were getting descriptive, but it was easy to skip the question. This comment supports other answers, but I put it here because it may be a way around the tag issue, which is what you asked. Nov 24, 2016 at 20:15

6 Answers 6


I don't think an is needed. Anyone who doesn't want to see (or any other tag) can edit their favourites to ignore topics.

So top right corner, click edit:

enter image description here

find the tag you want to ignore:

enter image description here

Click add:

enter image description here

These topics are now greyed out in the feed:

enter image description here

You can even specify to "Hide questions of ignored tags": enter image description here

enter image description here

Then they don't appear at all!

  • Thanks for these detailed instructions. I never realized I could do that, much less how. Out of curiousity, what takes precedence if a question has both a "favorite" and "ignored" tag? For example, the vile moose question also includes animal-behaviour, which is a favorite. If I hide the hunting tag, will I still see the question? I know there's a certain hierarchy with tags, but I'm not sure how it would work in a case like this. Thanks! Aug 21, 2016 at 23:03
  • I think ignored. I know when I gray out a question it appears gray if it has a tag I don't like, even if it also has a tag I've favourited.
    – user2766
    Aug 22, 2016 at 7:41
  • That's just what I needed to know. Thanks!! Aug 22, 2016 at 19:02

No, please don't. This site includes support for a lot of sportsman's activities so things can get slimy and squishy on occasion. There's no need to be overly gratuitous, but don't tell a hunter to cover their activities in hushed whispers until they're packaged on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in Saran Wrap. It's laughable… and embarrassing.

Actually, lungfish and over-tweezed eyebrows sort of creep me out, so please mark those things [EXPLICIT] pleeze


I dread the day when TGO turns into a safe space where everyone must take care not to offend in exchange for being allowed on the site.

This is hardly the first case of something gruesome and gross being on TGO. The only reason we are even having this conversation is because the question was about hunting. That tells us a lot about how accepting (or not) our community is and, IMO - That is what we should be concerned about.

So let's call a duck a duck: What we are actually asking is "Should we censor hunters because it offends the sensibilities of some users." My answer is a firm and resounding NO.

  • 1
    I see your frustration in thinking hunters are being singled out, but it's not 100% the case. This perfectly innocent and nicely presented (thanks OddDeer) question spawned a disgusting answer by a highly respected member here. This one has nothing to do with hunting, and is just a case of garbage graphics that add nothing to the answer. I don't know if that makes you feel better, just pointing it out! Aug 24, 2016 at 23:18
  • That post did not lead to flags, complaints, and people threatening to leave the site, nor a meta topic such as this one. Which pretty much proves my point. I don't think hunters are being singled out. Other topics also get a disproportionate share of flags as well. But the point stands that (as seen with Shem's answer) explicit content alone was not sufficient to cause the flurry of concern. Aug 25, 2016 at 0:10
  • This is not about censoring, this is about finding a way to provide potentially gruesome content from any kind of topic in a way that everyone who wants to avoid it easily can. And saying: Just don't look at any inserttaghere question at all is certainly not a solution.
    – imsodin
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:22
  • @imsodin -- Without going into an entire research topic discussion on it - Flagging things for the sole purpose of discouraging traffic (ie - explicit) is often considered a form of censorship. I concede that it is debatable. For interesting reading on the topic we could chat about the various views regarding whether or not movie and music ratings (R, Explicit, etc.) are considered censorship. Aug 25, 2016 at 20:39
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    I was going to flag that post, because in some ways it was worse. Those pix came out of the blue with no reasonable expectation that they'd be there. The question asked for a description, not pictorial examples. I had told people in chat I'd try to have a better attitude, so I asked the OP if he'd be willing to link out to the graphics instead. I wonder if that post has caused fewer complaints because it's an answer and less visible than the question. For me, it's the same, I just hadn't found it. Aug 25, 2016 at 22:34

Reaction to concerns about censorship

Of course we should not censor anyone. Nobody should get banned for posting gruesome stuff (when relevant). But where is the harm in providing this content in a way that every user can easily choose whether he/she wants to see it or not?
All I am asking is to remove this content from direct line of sight: Is it really censorship if an image is only linked to in a post instead of directly inserted into the post?
And again what we really are doing here is making a mountain out of a molehill. We do not really have a general problem with this on TGO and can find a way to deal with this when it comes up.

Original Post:

In general I do agree with the argument, that in the outdoors and specifically in hunting things get messy/gruesome/bloody/... and it should be possible to discuss and where relevant show a picture. However one also needs to accept that what is acceptable to someone might be highly objectionable to someone else. We want to target the broadest audience possible, so the gruesome part must be avoidable. This means: Keeping the tone in the title down, as this is what everyone, whether as user or from a search engine reads first.
About pictures I will quote @RoryAlsop:

If we do need to hide a possibly gruesome image, we can either use the Spoiler tag, or if we really don't want it on the site, just have it as a link, and annotate with "this links to particularly gory pic - don't click unless you want to see it."


This is already used to great effect on a few Stack Exchange sites (Movies, SciFi etc) where it can be used to cover up anything that should remain hidden until the reader decides to uncover it.

I would suggest to always link if you think your picture is not appropriate for all audiences. Hovering over accidentally happens way too easily. And to be honest: It does not hurt the question if the image is external. Very often we are anyway infringing on copyright issues when uploading images to imgur and displaying them here directly.

In the general text after a possible short reminder that the following might be gruesome, it is obviously possible to be as explicit and detailed as possible, as long as it serves the question.

Telling people to hide tags is not an option for two reasons: First due to external visitors and second because it absolutely is possible and valid/acceptable to be interested in e.g. hunting but not wanting to see anything explicit.

Last comment: The question that spawned this discussion is exceptional and OddDear already stated that it was purposely tailored to probe for reactions. I still do not understand its value exceeding getting an explanation for one specific phenomenon. We had other questions that were somewhat gruesome, but they had in my opinion more substance and thus the gruesomness was better accepted. I still do not think this issue is or will be crucial/often encountered in this community.


I suggest the following:

  • Be conservative in titles: Keep it factual and don't go into detail/be descriptive - that belongs to the question body.

  • Use gruesome pictures if it serves the question, but only add a link to the gruesome image to your answer if in doubt about its appropriateness (this site is public).

  • Spoiler markdown is essentially useless: Hovering over accidentally happens too quickly.

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    This all implies that the best way to increase our audience is to avoid offending anyone. I think basically the entire history of the internet stands against this position. Aug 25, 2016 at 0:12
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    @RussellSteen Not saying that you are not right on that, but I think many people would have said the history of internet shows the whole idea of SE is to be doomed - luckily it wasn't. Do we really want to attract attention by tabloid like titles and explicit content? I hope we don't.
    – imsodin
    Aug 25, 2016 at 9:15
  • imsodin, I've always seen this as the most practical approach, and a good illustration happened recently. I asked a question seeking an identification of a turtle. In his answer, @Charlie Brumbaugh referenced an offsite image using a link and the words "link has gross picture". It had no fanfare or graphic description, just a few words and a warning. That seems easy, inoffensive, and a good compromise. Oct 13, 2016 at 15:14

So, I've posted the first truly explicit question here: What might cause a massive blood stream from a lethally hit moose's mouth?

I've to admit that I went all-in :) The reactions so far are pretty mixed. Most of the people seem to take it just as another question but there are also comments which thank me for warnings on the content. However, one comment made me really sad. It's from a very valuable user of the community and she absolutely disliked the question.

OddDeer, thanks for the attempt at hiding the graphic content, so if people are careful, they don't have to see it. I've downvoted and flagged because the whole question is full of language and graphic descriptions not fit for the average public viewer. I respect hunters. I also believe in the SE model, that the community should evaluate the content. However, If the consensus is that this question in this form is acceptable on the site, I won't be returning.

As I don't want to loose that member, I've rethought that whole thing again:

Core problem: Users may want to see hunting questions (curiosity whatever) but not such which contain material of suffering animals. They can't just ignore the tag overall. So the provided features are not sufficient for them.

My solution: Creating a tag and then warn people using the hunting tag that their question may need to get tagged with it.


People are able to just ignore the tag and still can read the other hunting questions.


A truly working feature could be a mark-down called explicit. Explicit does basically the same as the in the question mentioned spoiler mark-down but hides the content completely for anonymous users. Also, if a single piece of explicit mark-down is used, the question automatically gets tagged with .


We've this markdown:

<explicit> foo bar </explicit>
  • A logged in user sees:

foo bar

  • An anonymous user sees:

Hidden explicit content - please log in to see the complete question.

And as already said, the asked question automatically gets .

I've requested the feature on Meta.SE.

  • I don't understand why we would want to do this for anonymous users. What is the use case?
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:00
  • @RoryAlsop For example a school class (young age) doing research on a particular topic will sooner or later come to Stack Exchange. Do you want them to see a blood barfing moose bull? But is just an arguable idea of course.
    – OddDeer
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:05
  • To me, that wouldn't seem like a problem at all, but then I grew up in a farming/fishing community so all kids would see that sort of thing. In my opinion, spoiler tags, and well described links would absolutely cover this use case anyway.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:07
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    @RoryAlsop Yep, agree, for my kids this is also true. But I don't think that this applies to all the parents, does it? I also think that we would make it too easy for ourselves if we just say: "Yeah, spoiler and link these things." I mean you could absolutely shred every feature on earth with this attitude (imho) :) Like why do we need a in-post image? We just can link to it. Why do we need bold font? We just can do it like !important!. Why do we need quote markdown? We just can say "this is a quote". Why do we need a built-in JS fiddle? Just use js-fiddle or codepen.
    – OddDeer
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:11
  • Well - Stack Exchange is 13 and over only. So it is not up to us to worry about anyone younger than that. That is up to their parent/teacher.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:18
  • @RoryAlsop Okay, valid point :D
    – OddDeer
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:19
  • I updated my answer over on the meta.se post
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:21
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    An explicit tag does not help against finding such a question over google. And it is a meta-tag as well (not applicable on its own), so should not be used per SE policy.
    – imsodin
    Aug 18, 2016 at 12:20
  • @imsodin Excellent point! Thanks for the input.
    – OddDeer
    Aug 18, 2016 at 12:29
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    OddDeer, I have many opinions about this, some of which have been expressed better by others. I'll post those separately. First though, thank you for bringing the subject up here and on meta.se. Second, re-thinking the process based on one user's decision to leave, without waiting to see if others who agree with her come forward, shows a dedication not found in many communities. That user, who certainly doesn't feel valuable compared to everyone else, is humbled and grateful. :))) Aug 19, 2016 at 18:03
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    This question is related to some broader questions of hunting ethics. I have killed a number of large game with arrows and I was a little surprised by the gore in the photo. Hunting should be a welcoming place for people who are experts and people who are curious. I know of some people who insist that you must drink the blood of the first animal you kill. I can think of no better way to ensure that the number of hunters remains low and that our ability to ensure our continued access to hunting remains in jeopardy. I think that small speed bumps to harder content is appropriate.
    – David
    Aug 22, 2016 at 3:40

Its an outdoor site, there might be hunters and they might ask hunting questions, what's acceptable or not is to be decided by the community, however many users are non-hunters and I suspect some are vegetarian too. They can be tolerant of hunting questions and in return hunters can be less explicit... (Beside the fact that is the attitude of some hunters that causes this kind of discussions and there’s no need to bring them audience from SE) I find the moose question is unnecessary: comments in the video tell you what happened, an hunter should know what’s going on anyways, there is absolutely no need for explicit wording, pictures, links to videos that can be easily found if someone wants to. As for preparing the meat that can be shown with drawings that are way less graphic.

Anyways aren’t we supposed to do a minimum of research before asking a question in SE? Once someone does some research the gorey part usually is dropped for a more "clinical" approach...

If its a community for everybody I think that a bit of moderation (as avoiding excess) should help in respecting everybody's point of view.

It would make for a pretty sad site if everybody went posting pictures of nasty shark bites, multiple exposed fractures or worse, and other pretty graphic stuff you can come across in the outdoors.

Basically there is no need to be that explicit in any question, if worded properly without the graphic pictures, videos etc the whole issue of hiding a question would not exist in first place. There is also a question about Everest corpses and noone felt the need to attach pictures of them.

  • The "mimium research" thing is more of a SO thing. SO has a big problem with the quanity of questions, and many of these are duplicates of questions on SO. It's not really that big a deal for us. As we're essentially building a resource, if the information resides somewhere else and providing it's not duplicated here then I don't see this as a problem.
    – user2766
    Aug 22, 2016 at 8:05
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    @Liam, I was under the impression that the minimum research was related to the whole quality of the question issue. Just to avoid lazy questions that can be answered with a simple google search in 5 minutes or even less Aug 23, 2016 at 12:06
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    There's no real rule about it. SO tends to react badly to poorly researched questions (basically becasue it gets bombared by them 24/7) but there are plenty of easily answered questions on SO also. And in fact these tend to get the most hits as they're the problems most people have.
    – user2766
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:08
  • Most SE sites (ours included) are designed to be resources of information. If we can summerise a problem someone is having better than someone else who's already asked that same question then fine.
    – user2766
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:11
  • @Liam, in another SE site an user asks a ton of questions that can be answered very easily, it was let go to increase the number of questions I think but many other contributors simply lost interest because of it. Aug 23, 2016 at 12:12
  • It's a valid argument.
    – user2766
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:15
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    Personally, I don't really see too much of an issue with it. In fact a lot of the questions added recently (which others have complained about being artifical) have actually had 1,000 of views. Often you can even see an increase in people joining the site at about the same time
    – user2766
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:16
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    I disagree with the idea that any group of users owes any other group something for the privilege of being "tolerated". Aug 24, 2016 at 18:12
  • @RussellSteen, tolerance is not a matter of owing anything to anybody or any "privilege", thats very different than what I wrote. Aug 25, 2016 at 14:25
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    "and in return hunters can be less explicit... " -- This implies that in return for tolerance, the hunters must do something. That is, in common parlance in my region of the US, owing something. Aug 25, 2016 at 20:36
  • @RussellSteen, I dont see where two people taking a step towards eachother to share an online community, instead of sitting in their corners thinking that they are both right, is owing anything, I call it respect and tolerance but then you can build the community as you prefer. Aug 31, 2016 at 13:22
  • @ErikvanDoren -- That is not what this is. We have a difference of opinion that I doubt will be resolved. I'm not building the community, the group is. The group seems pretty divided on the issue. One section sees tolerance as "don't ask others to filter for you". The other sees tolerance as "don't offend anyone". It'll sort out over time. As a person I have an opinion. As a mod I just try to make sure no one burns the house down. Aug 31, 2016 at 13:46

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