Let's Talk About... Episode's Survey

Thanks for creating this post, A LOT need to be discussed on.

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  • Do you think it’s related to the changes coming to Episode?
    Probably
  • Were there any questions you didn’t understand?
    I understood them fine, I just think they were really broad questions, unsure of what episode can really take from them
  • Were there any questions you wanted to elaborate on? (Feel free to elaborate here)
    I’m just glad they asked about featured stories following guidelines, I think they asked because we’ve been saying that featured writers don’t follow the guidelines for ages
  • Do you think this means Episode will be making changes to their content guidelines?
    Maybe they will, but the questions didn’t really ask us about any specific guidelines, so I doubt it
  • Do you think this means Episode will be making changes to the type of stories they write and/feature?
    They probably will by making sure they follow the content guideline as they haven’t before, although they didn’t ask any questions about what stories we like or anything of that nature, therefor I think they’ll still feature the same dusty ass cliches that they always do
  • Do you expect Episode will explain their content guidelines more in depth after our feedback?
    Most definitely, and I hope they do as well especially when it comes to things like using profanity and sexual content
  • Could this mean the app’s rating will potentially change to allow more mature content?
    I hope not, I think they’re going to try to find a way to accommodate those who want to feature more mature content but I highly doubt they’ll be able to

I don’t understand what exactly they can take from our answers the questions are so broad, we can’t really predict how they’ll interpret the results. Personally, I think they should have asked way more questions

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It just looked like the old Demi Lovato section of the app from what I remember, but you’re right. This very much looks like a duplicate. :confused:

I feel like both options would have the same impact ultimately - aka most teenagers shift to the mature section and stories get even more out of control - but the second outcome would be the (slightly) lesser of two evils. But I hate both, because the only way to curb harmful stories at the moment is by reporting when they break guidelines. If that isn’t there? Free city.

I mean… has everyone seen how wild stories can get on Wattpad and Chapters? AO3? Not great environments for teenagers to exist in.

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I have to say I hate how easily episode gets diverted. I agree with you. I hate both options as well. I haven’t read any Wattpads stories or AO3, but I have chapters. And, Chapters doesn’t hold back.

I’m confused about what sort of outcome episode is expecting. Making a mature section will only make the young ones more curious, and a curious mind will lead them to this app (section.) I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t want this possibility to become a reality.

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This just occurred to me, but it’s possible they’re considering whether to match other interactive story apps from the app store.

Choices imo knows how to toe the line between sexual narration and keeping the actions themselves implicit, but the app always had a more adult tone in general. Plus, they’ve gotten more explicit with their sexual content lately.

Chapters is always wild. No secret there.

The Arcana is basically foreplay without showing sex sksk. Not marketed as being for teens or functioning like Episode, but it’s still a fairly popular interactive story.

I could go on, but pretty much any Episode/Choices knock-off is at least somewhat explicit now. It would make sense that Episode is considering this, as much as I don’t like it.

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So after seeing everyone’s reply… My gut feeling of them possibly considering implementing something that allows the mature stories to stay is only stronger. I think either a spin off app or a higher rating with a mature section is possibly being tossed around and that’s why they want to know how many people read mature stories.

The thing for me is…

What do they mean by mature? I assume they mean sex and I assume that they assume that we think sex… But sometimes I feel like a story can be mature because it’s just a serious story that takes on serious subjects and has characters who have a real job and things like that. I don’t feel it needs to have sex to be classified as “mature” and so that sort of threw me off because I said I sometimes enjoy mature stories, but I don’t want them to take that as “great, investing in a spin off smut app is worth it”. So I wish they had defined that a bit more.

Another thing that kinda sorta had me stumped which I wanted more clarification on was my understanding of the guidelines. Because I personally feel I know what I am and am not allowed to include in my stories. But I have stumbled across so many stories that make me think “how is this allowed?” So for me… I understand what I’m allowed to include as per current guidelines, yes. But I have no idea how some authors are allowed to write what they do :woman_shrugging:

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Financially, it probably would be :upside_down_face::rofl:

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Do you think it’s related to the changes coming to Episode?
Probably.

Were there any questions you didn’t understand?
Kind of. I understood the questions, but I didn’t really see where they were going with them and how they wanted us to answer. For example, I said I quit reading stories that had bad grammar lol. I’m not sure if that’s the kind of response they were looking for? :rofl:

Were there any questions you wanted to elaborate on? (Feel free to elaborate here)
I wrote quite a bit for each question, particularly the last one.

Do you think this means Episode will be making changes to their content guidelines?
On my Google App store, Episode already shows as 18+/mature and apparently this is true in some other countries too. So after the above discussion, I am curious to see if they are thinking of changing the app rating or creating a spin off app. If this happens and we’re allowed to create 18+ content, then the guidelines will have to change.

Do you think this means Episode will be making changes to the type of stories they write and/feature?
They’d be able to keep that masterpiece, In My Bed!!! without us all being outraged lol.

Do you expect Episode will explain their content guidelines more in depth after our feedback?
Hopefully. One thing I mentioned in the final comment was that some guidelines aren’t very clear or specific and then a user will get an email (for example) saying that curse words are limited to 5 per chapter when this isn’t specified in the guidelines.

Could this mean the app’s rating will potentially change to allow more mature content?
Maybe. They also asked how old we were when filling out the survey so maybe they’re trying to see if 13-18 is still their main demographic?

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Completely irrelevant

image
That sounds like an alien trying to make small talk.

The guidelines don’t seem unclear to me, but then again, I’ve never been hit with a content violation. Maybe because I have 13 total reads… Everything on the guidelines seems to be very generic, no part of them surprised me when I was first reading them.

I do hear odd stories about how the guidelines are implemented in practise, like stories with the word “sex” in them, in non-descriptive or even negative ways, getting dinged for being too provocative, while other stories get well up on the trending list with detailed descriptions of arousal or heavy make-out scenes. And, obviously, teen pregnancy, as if that wasn’t worse than talking about condoms or other aspects of safe sex.

While I don’t care for erotica and simply avoid it, I also don’t necessarily have a problem with it. And any teen with a smartphone in their hands has unlimited access to all the erotica they want in other corners of the internet (unless they have a state-of-the-art parental lock), so anyone over the age of 13 is probably well-versed in the art of deciding what they like and what makes them uncomfortable, Episode probably isn’t saving anyone from things they haven’t already seen or couldn’t find themselves. That said, if Episode wants to keep their app clean, it’s well within their right to do so, but they should police the content consistently. That might mean changes to the guidelines, whether that’s clarifying them for the mods, clarifying them for the writers, or adding/deleting items from it.

That said, I do kind of hope they’ll find somewhere to put more mature stories. There was another thread about it, idr where, but people found out that Episode has to keep their app clean to keep the 12+ rating on the app store, and that if Episode acknowledges or allows mature content, behind any kind of filter, it would still change their rating to 18+, preventing young teens with a parental lock on their App Store from downloading it. However, that doesn’t stop the company from making a spinoff app, an Episode After-Dark, if you will, to hold their mature stuff. :woman_shrugging: One can hope. That would sanitise the family-friendly app by getting the nasty folks the heck out of the way, give the mature people somewhere to read and write what they want, and it’s not like Episode’s reputation around the internet could get any worse. Everyone wins, I’d think, but what the heck do I know?

Somewhat irrelevant

When I say “I don’t want erotica but more mature stories would be nice,” I’m talking about dark and/or horror themes. Stories where the characters don’t necessarily have to be role models, where evil or pain don’t have to be sanitised. I know this kind of media exists elsewhere, I’d just kind of like to have it in Episode format, especially from the perspective of a writer. But I definitely respect Episode’s decision not to have it, some of these authors can’t use trigger warnings for shit. :roll_eyes:

TL;DR The words in the content guidelines and the practise of content moderation should match up perfectly, in whatever way Episode decides is appropriate. I’d hope they make a more mature spin-off app, but with the vague questions in the survey, it’s impossible to make any definite predictions.

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Omg wait- I’m reading all this on here and I’m just realizing that I completely read one of the questions wrong! I read the question “What will make you not continue reading stories?” as “What will make you continue reading stories!” oops, I hope they understand the error haha!

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They had it phrased to include both questions.

So it’s practically like “When you are deciding whether to START reading a story, what do you look for?” and also “When you are deciding whether not to START reading a story, what do you look for?”

You know, now that I’m looking at it again. These questions were phrased in a weird amd confusing way. I had to read it a few times myself :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Yeah, that is really weird wording. :face_with_hand_over_mouth: I interpreted it positively (ie. What makes you choose to START a story) but they’re going to get a mess of both positive and negative answers as a consequence of wording it like that lol. :woman_shrugging:

It’ll make short answers confusing, and if they planned to sort the answers with algorithms, the algorithms are going to make a mess lmao.

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Also, in case y’all wanted to trade more theories as to what they’re up to, here’s your proof that they’re definitely, currently up to some big things:

Goodnight! :kissing_heart:

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I don’t remember the specific thread, but it is a request for basically one of those security measures to make sure readers are at least 13 or 18

I really don’t know whether or not Episode having a mature ratings/mature themes spin-off app would be the right action or not. Either way, guidelines have to be similarly followed

I wonder if it is those authors who usually write mature stories (and just so happen to break guidelines) are part of the reason for this possible shift…

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Sksk I get what you mean. I hope that’s not what they meant and how they took it. I’m not someone who mostly reads YA fiction. I read stories with older themes. I don’t even mind explicit content (with some exceptions; I won’t read or see graphic sexual assault and have opinions on whether it should even be portrayed on-screen), but I think the community has become too teen-based to be allowing explicit content.

Oof. Is that a recent change or has it always shown up as 18+ for you?

Teens already have access to all sorts of seedy things, but my concern is: should we really be providing another place for them to get it? To me, most of the problem lies in more than just the sexual content of the stories; it’s the community interactions and influences that come with them. We can’t save the world, it’s true, but I don’t want to worsen our little piece of it either.

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Oooh I just checked and mine is rated M, which is 15+.

True. I do see both your points here tbh. I actually think is unfortunate how much policing they actually do need to do when most authors I believe that do write the most sexual stories are well above the age to understand what they’re putting out there and that it does go against guidelines :confused:

I’ll be honest, if they change it though, I’m going to be so pissed off. To me, that’s basically them saying if you can’t beat them get all those horny authors to remove their pornos, join them then find a way to let them keep them :roll_eyes: And my big issue with that is then, well, how is that fair to those authors who did follow the guidelines? Or those who actually fixed their scenes when they had violated them?

Sksksk

Yes, this is also what crossed my mind when they asked about mature content… Which is why I hope they weren’t just trying to ask sex or no sex? please take this into account, Episode.

Seeeeeeee, this is exactly what I was talking about. I’m going to be blunt now, but if this is a way to allow all the insufferable authors who simply will not follow the guidelines despite having to constantly amend their stories for violations, I will be absolutely livid. Makes me wonder if they are avoiding banning certain authors because the against-guidelines stories are what actually makes them money? :unamused:

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Still 12+ for me.

Looked up a couple things and apparently the age ratings of apps are set by the developers when they submit an app to Apple for review. Apple itself does not set the rating. So if something’s changed with the rating, it would definitely be on Episode’s part.

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My Apple store shows 12+. My google store shows mature (@amberose I was wrong- mine also says 15+ not 18+ lol) and it’s been like that for at least a year.
Both my stores are set in Australia.

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Yeah, I think they needed to specify what they meant. I consider Maternal Instincts to be mature in terms of content, yet it still abides by the guidelines. But some of the themes are definitely more on the mature side in my opinion (e.g domestic abuse (physical and emotional) and attempted rape) and I’d personally rate the story 15+.

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This is exactly what I consider mature. Knowing Episode and their featured story pattern, there’s no way they are asking this guideline change to write thriller. I think they just didn’t wanna use erotica and went with “mature”. Outside of Episode, most people use mature to refer to these themes, they don’t necessarily mean erotica.

It’s concerning & fascinating how an app can go from “You can only use 5 curse words in an episode” to actual frick scenes… :cat_shocked:

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