Episode is Updating Our Content Guidelines

Ok and I’m not saying that but the team are just trying all of a sudden to justify the app being 13 and within the guidelines


And as Liz mentioned above they’re in the process of reviewing their own stories and will be changing them to fit guidelines


Another curious (and most likely confusing) thing is the Assault, Violence & Torture rule:

No graphic / explicit / detailed descriptions of rape / assault / murder / torture / violence / gore / etc. This includes (but is not limited to): heavy or excessive use of blood or weapons or scars, use of dead bodies or body parts

So if a character is killed on screen, does that mean you can’t show the body (even briefly)?

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I’m pretty sure you can, as long as it’s not excessive? Which I think means zooming in on it or having a excessive amount of dead bodies. I’d send a ticket in to be safe, but I’ve had my stories reviewed before by the episode team and I was allowed use of a dead body.


What about pregnancy stories?

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My word.

I can understand the frustration over the actual changes, like censoring curse words or not having guns on covers. But a lot of these things have been in the guidelines for months, if not a year or more. The following is from a post dated from February 2018, last updated by admins 7 months ago as of my posting this comment.

Old nudity/sex guidelines
  • Depiction of sex (or anything suggesting that sex is occurring at that moment) in any form, including but not limited to, gyrating bodies, oral sex, or moaning/groaning is not allowed.
  • Explicit details of what is happening or has happened off-screen is also not allowed.
  • Any nudity on cover art is strictly not allowed.
  • Frontal nudity is allowed in a story if it is not excessive, only used in non-sexual situations, and always accompanied with censor bars or scenery to censor.
  • Posterior nudity in a story is only allowed in a tasteful and non-sexual context.
Old drug/alcohol guidelines
  • No graphic / explicit / detailed descriptions or glorification of the use of drugs / alcohol.
  • Characters can consume alcohol, tobacco or marijuana as well as make references to these drugs.
  • Characters can make references to harder drugs (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, etc.) but they cannot be depicted or consumed on screen.
  • If a story references characters consuming these substances, it cannot be glorified or encouraged.
  • Characters can be addicts or addicts can be referenced provided the representation is respectful, contextually appropriate and doesn’t glorify being an addict.
"Old assault/violence guidelines
  • No graphic / explicit / detailed descriptions of rape / assault / violence / gore / etc.
  • Authors can give general descriptions or broad strokes, but not details.
    • Ex: they can say a rape / murder / assault happened, but cannot describe the details, injuries or physical sensations.
    • Physical or sexual abuse can referenced provided the representation is respectful, contextually appropriate and doesn’t glorify being a victim / survivor.
  • Torture cannot be depicted on screen. References to torture, and evidence of torture are allowed, but cannot be explicit or gratuitous.
Overall guidelines
  • promotes or depicts excessive violence or assault, including but not limited to sexual assault, murder, and torture against humans or animals;
  • includes hate speech or content that promotes hatred or discrimination against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, religion, marital status, disability, gender, age, or sexual orientation;
  • promotes suicide, self-harm, abuse, or bullying;
  • promotes excessive alcohol, tobacco or drug use;
  • promotes gambling, betting or casinos;
  • portrays adult themes, including pornographic content, nudity, or prostitution;
    slanders or libels a person or third party;
  • includes excessive use of profanity or sexually explicit phrases;
    advertises for outside products or services, including but not limited to website links, reviews, and promotional language;
  • excessively promotes the use of firearms, explosives, and ammunition; or
  • excessively promotes a political agenda.

The broad strokes are the same. A few things have changed. The cursing and cover rules as mentioned before are new. The rules are now more specific about how underage characters can be portrayed. They also added a section about allowing the reader to decline sex without punishment. Weirdly, the bit about not being allowed to portray historical figures is new. Overall, though, the guidelines for actual story content are the same, with more specificity.

I’m not thrilled about having to find-replace every curse word either, but I don’t think these guidelines are stifling creativity by limiting the mature content we can portray. We’ve always been asked not to endorse or promote things like sexual assault or gun violence, but we’ve never been forbidden from critiquing it, and that’s still the case if it isn’t excessively violent or graphic. If rules against excessive depictions of torture or glorifying rape are really inhibiting people, they may want to reassess their priorities.


Anyway, I’m not saying I think it’s wrong of people to express discontent with certain guidelines or to ask for further clarification, but some of the petulant hissy fits going on across IG from people who clearly didn’t even read the guidelines is just excessive.




I have a question for everyone, please answer. :heart:

Would you rather see this app stays for mature writers and readers and that they build new app just for “kids”?

  • That would be perfect!
  • Definitely not!

0 voters


I think the new cursing rule was the most eye-catching rule for a lot of people, and in turn they started to pay attention to the other guidelines.
That, or the sections such as for sexual content is more specific


I’m so confused!
Why was this approved today if the guidelines were updated yesterday?

What the hell is happening with the team?


Yeah, I’m not fond of that particular rule. You’re probably right that it just got people who previously didn’t pay attention to the guidelines to look at them more closely. As the forum’s resident consent police, I guess I was somewhat familiar with them already.



I get Episode doing a ‘big overhaul’ to actually be suited for younger audiences, but as other users already said earlier swearing is the least of their problems. People are generally fine with the old 5 swears per scene thing


on the bright side I assume the bleeping means we can now use more than five.


I’m happy with the rules as a whole I just think there really needs to be more clarification in certain aspects.


I also wish Episode would create some way to let us know stories have been: guideline approved.


Yeah, I think that’s my main concern… in the effort to eliminate problematic content, other content that isn’t necessarily harmful could get caught in the crossfire just because it’s “mature.”

However, I do think emphasizing that the stories should be suitable for 13-year olds is a little different from saying everything in the app must now be aimed at 13-year-olds. A lot of PG-13 movies don’t have a target audience of middle schoolers. They are just “safe” for interested middle schoolers to see. The same applies here.


Like many others have said the guidelines are literally almost the same. I don’t understand why so many people are complaining and acting like the guidelines are “all new” and the most horrible thing to befall Episode when they have been there since the beginning and every author has (presumably) read before they started writing.

Though to be honest, I can agree that I’m not particularly keen about the * on swear words, not being able to depict abuse or torture (I assume this means having it in your story even if it isn’t promoting it), and the gun ban on the covers. I’m hoping that we are able to discuss with Episode more about this and see if they are willing to consider changes cause imo it’s still PG-13.


It would make it easier for them (and for us, too) since the content is already given here. :roll_eyes: It would take less efforts to develop a new app for the younger ones. But I understand their concerns since the app is known as PG-13, so they can’t just switch to 16/18+ out of the blue… :S

And btw everyone should read @Cee’s comments before getting a heart attack. :smiley:


I’m happy about these updated guidelines because:

  1. Bye-bye all those stories in the trending section that feature graphic sexual positions and whatnot.

  2. Maybe now stories with actual plots could come to the forefront instead of those stories that gain MILLIONS of reads within weeks just because they promise smexy times :roll_eyes:

  3. It seems like everyone’s on an even playing field now!

So, in conclusion, I’m happy! Of course, it’ll mean a LOT of established and popular authors are going to be put through the wringer because they’re gonna have so much to revise and edit in compliance with the new guidelines.


Dear God the majority of those need to be mowed down, period :imp: