The Episode Guidelines as I Understand Them

Ugh. Yes. :woman_facepalming:t2:

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But other then that, this thread is good

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Either pan the scene to a different zone and then add in a box that says “SLAP” then go right back to the scene with the end of animations. I guess tht could be allowed. Im still waiting on tyler response.

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Yeah, the violence part was the part I thought could use the most clarification. Hopefully Tyler can give us some answers.

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Moved to Episode Fan Community since Community is for discussion of specific stories. Make sure to check out our Forum Tutorial for more info about where to correctly create topics, and feel to PM me if there are any questions. :wink:

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Understanding the New Guidelines

Recently, I’ve noticed that a lot of creators (including myself) are confused about the new content guidelines :sweat_smile:. This post is to help us all understand what these mean for our stories on the app. I’ve taken the new guidelines and added them to this post so that we can break them down and understand them. If there’s anything you think I should add or change, just let me know :blush:

Episode’s Content Guidelines (link)

Stories must be appropriate for readers ages 13+

In addition, by submitting your story, you agree that it does not include any content that infringes on the intellectual property rights or rights of publicity or privacy of any third party.

This may include using any of the following without permission:

  1. Any copyrights or works of authorship of other parties, including excerpts or passages taken from literary works, video games, television or film;
  2. References to corporate or business names; or
  3. Any references to real persons or places.

This part of the guidelines is fairly straightforward. You may not use the name of business without permission, the name of a real person without permission, or use quotes from another author without their permission.

If your story contains a scene that could be a trigger for some viewers, you should use a content warning. A content warning is a written notice that precedes potentially sensitive content.

If your story contains a scene which could be a trigger for some viewers, you need to use a content warning. (Any content shown after the warning still has to follow guidelines!!!) This is a simple thing to add to your story. Here is the coding for some you are free to use.
Content warning:

Script Coding
NARRATOR
The following scenes may contain content which may not be suitable for some readers.
Viewer discretion is advised.

Trigger Warning

Script coding
NARRATOR
The following scenes may contain triggering or sensitive content.
Trigger Warning: *insert content (ex: Abortion, murder etc.)

Let’s give some examples of what is NOT allowed on the app. Please note this is not a complete list; these are just examples. Don’t post content if you think it may violate our guidelines.

Story Card Guidelines - In addition to all of the below guidelines, the following guidelines apply to story cards:

  1. No implication that characters are having, have had, or are about to have sex. This includes (but is not limited to) any actual or implied nudity, a bed scene with more than one person, depiction of one or more characters who are sexually touching themselves or one another, images that depict sex work or a sexual act in exchange for compensation
  2. No sexual props or items being used in a sexual context
  3. No nudity, even with censors
  4. No guns
  5. No drug or alcohol use of any kind
  6. No profanity of any kind
  7. No depiction of bullying
  8. No language that relates to racism or racial profiling or stereotypes
  9. Children under the age of 16 cannot be the focus, including any context of overlays and backgrounds (e.g. a closeup of a child on a swing)
  10. No use of the Episode logo

Your story cover may NOT include the implication that two characters are having sex, sexual items being used in a sexual context, nude characters (even with censor bar), guns, drugs alcohol, profanity, scene showing bullying, racist language, characters under 16, or the Episode logo.

Your story cover CAN include two characters being romantic with each other and characters can still be dressed semi-revealingly. They just can’t be fully nude.

Profanity

  1. No derogatory-based words or discriminatory language
  2. No use of profane language without bleeps or using an * (you can look to ratings from organizations such as the MPAA or TV Parental Guidelines to help understand what may be considered excessive for similar audiences)
  3. No use of sexually explicit profanity
  4. No profanity of any kind in story titles

Most of this is the same as before, except for number two. We are no longer allowed to use any swears without censors or “bleeps.” That being said, Episode did respond to a comment on Instagram stating that we are no longer limited to 5 swears per Episode.

Nudity / Sexual Content:

  1. No depiction of sex (or anything suggesting that sex is occurring at that moment) in any form, including but not limited to, nudity in a sexual context, gyrating bodies, oral sex, or moaning/groaning.
  2. No explicit sexual details of what is happening, has happened or will happen off-screen
  3. No nudity without censor bars or scenery to censor
  4. No reference to orgies, sexual fetishes, and specific sexual positions
  5. No descriptions or depictions of non-consensual sex. Through content or through choice selection, the reader must be able to give consent to having sex or performing sexual acts (i.e. reader must always have the option to turn it down without punishment or judgment)
  6. No graphic/explicit/detailed description or depiction of active, ongoing sexual abuse involving a character who is under 18 years of age.
  7. No graphic/explicit/detailed description or depiction of illegal relationships such as incest

Your characters can not have sex or describe sex on screen. They also can’t describe it happening off screen in vivid detail. This means they can still have sex, there are just limitations in the way it’s represented. From what I can tell, you could have scene with two characters kissing in front of a bed and then fade to black. (Then it is implied, but technically the characters could just be giving each other a sweet lil kiss before taking a nap) One important change to the guidelines is that you can’t describe or depict non-consensual sex. This means that your character can’t be forced into doing something by another character. Along with this, when you give readers a choice to sleep with another character you can NOT punish them for saying “No.”

Drugs & Alcohol:

  1. No description or depiction of active, ongoing drug, alcohol or tobacco use by characters who are under the age of 16
  2. No graphic/explicit/detailed descriptions or glorification of the use or effects of drugs, alcohol or tobacco
  3. No glorification of an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
  4. No characters may use hard drugs or associated paraphernalia, including but not limited to: cocaine, heroin or other injectables, non-prescription pills e.g. LSD, prescription brand or non-brand medication outside of prescribed use e.g. Xanax, unidentified powders or pills

Essentially, don’t show characters under the age of 16 doing drugs or drinking alcohol. You also can’t describe the effects of drugs or alcohol on your characters in detail. Nor can your characters use “hard core” drugs. Finally, you can’t glorify an addiction. You can mention a character is addicted, but don’t represent that as a ‘good’ thing. That being said, your characters are still free to drink and use the recently released props.

Example of approved/unapproved content

You can: Show your character going to a bar, drinking and acting a lil tipsy. (This one is a little confusing, so it might be better to just use a “show” don’t tell method. If a kid could see the scene and think someone is drinking juice and having fun you’re good.)
You can’t: Show your character getting heavily drunk or describe their experience in life like detail.
“My head is spinning and everything around me is swirling into insanity. Glass after glass my pain is eased and I can feel my head fill with instant relief”

Ok, that wasn’t the best example, but hopefully that helped… XD

Assault, Violence & Torture:

  1. 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
  2. No depiction of torture or parental abuse on screen

Your story may not show/tell detailed scenes of rape, assault, murder, torture, violence or gore. You can still include these topics in your story! You just have to keep it on a PG-13 level,

Example of approved/unapproved content

You can say: “I watched her body hit the ground and instantly felt myself explode into tears.”
You can’t say: “I watched her body fall limply to the ground; melting into a pool of blood. Her eyes stuck in a dead stare that sent shivers down my spine. Within an instant, I ran to her and wrapped her into my arms. Her stomach was a bloody mess of torn skin that was ripped apart by a party of silver bullets.”

You can: Show people having a fight and one person passing out (or dying even). This could use the regular punch/shove/slap animations. (You can also use that like blood overlay thing in the clothing catalog)
You can’t Show people fighting and have blood splatter overlays flying from one person and show their body as a bloody, mangled, mess on the ground.

You can still mention these scenes, you just can’t take it to the “next level.”

The other important change is that you can no longer show parental abuse in your story. I’m assuming this includes physical and emotional abuse.

Gambling & Betting

  1. No illegal gambling or betting. This includes but is not limited to cock fighting, underground fighting or illegal sports betting

You may not show your characters illegally gambling or betting. I believe this was an existing guideline.

Suicide & Self-Harm:

  1. No graphic / explicit / detailed descriptions of suicide / self-harm / etc.
  2. No depiction of suicide / self harm that is depicted as feeling good, being a relief, or a means of escape
  3. No depiction of blood, wounds, gore or bodies resulting from suicide

Do not show or describe self harm or suicide in great detail. This means you shouldn’t talk about how “great” it is or what it feels like. You can mention it briefly, but you can not go into detail.

Example of approved/unapproved content

Trigger warning: Self harm

You can say: “When I was younger, I used to hurt myself.”
You can’t say : “I watched the blade slice my skin. It released oozing red blood and I let out a deep sigh of relief.”

Hate Speech:

  1. No hate speech in any form on the basis of (but not limited to) race, ethnic or national origin, religion, marital status, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender expression
  2. No glorification of any persons, real or fictional, who promote hate
  3. No promotion or honoring of hate symbols

Do not include any hate speech, hate symbols, or glorify people and characters that promote hate.

Example of approved/unapproved content

You can: “I hate Jessica. She’s a total b*****”
You can’t “I hate (religious group) They are all dirty and disgusting people who deserve to die.”

Advertising/Promotion:

  1. Authors may not advertise or promote non-Episode services or platforms on the app
  2. No excessive promotion of a political agenda

Episode has added that you are allowed to reference your Episode Instagram in your story so that readers can find it.! As for excessive promotion of a political agenda, I’ve interpreted this as you can include political themes, but can’t promote specific/named movements.

Example of approved/unapproved content

You can say: “Women’s rights are important to Kelly.”
You can’t write: A character running around in MAGA merch and chanting “Make America Great Again!”

Brands, Real People and Places :

  1. Brands cannot be a plot point or drive the story
  2. Story cards, backgrounds or overlays cannot contain brand references
  3. No images or illustrated likenesses of celebrities or historical or contemporary public figures are allowed as characters or on backgrounds, overlays or story cards
  4. Celebrities and historical or contemporary public figures cannot appear as characters
  5. Celebrities, historical or contemporary public figures, and real places cannot be a plot point or drive the story.

I think this is also fairly straightforward and I don’t see many changes to the guidelines here. You can’t include brands or real people in your story.

Summary:

From what I can tell, the biggest change to the Episode guidelines is in the profanity, violence and story covers section. We currently have until October 10th to make changes to stories so that they fit the new guidelines. If you have any questions or noticed I misinterpreted something let me know!

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I am not sure if this is allowed, since sexual assault is against the guidelines. Tyler himself said, that even if you place a trigger warning, your story still has to follow the guidelines. I would use another example, like an abortion or a miscarriage

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Thank you!!! SOMEONE PINNED THIS!!!

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I will again say this. In this ”new” guidelines is written, that we have to ask reader if agrees that characters have sex.

That obviously means sex is allowed, same as always!
Warning: moaning and sliding were never allowed, nor was nudity!

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Am I allowed to write about strippers and show private dances and pole dancing?

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I’ve edited that section based on what you said! Do you think the explanation is correct now?

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Don’t see changes :see_no_evil:

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Also are we allowed to describe romantic touches and kissing/foreplay?

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@CoraMae

This is what I added : ) If I need to add/change anything just lemme know!

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From what I can tell, as long as they aren’t nude and it isn’t ‘described’ in vivid detail, you should be fine.

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I just went back and reread everything, and that sounds fine to me as long as the description is “appropriate.” Like you could talk about how when they’re hand brushes against the other characters, they feel relived and comforted. But if you mean taking it to that “next level next level” I’m honestly not sure.

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What is vivid though? Like can I describe things like “his breath deepens” and “my lips part and my heart beat fastens” like these things are physical but not sexual because they’re not doing it. Also can I say things like “his gaze penetrates me and sends shockwaves through my core”? Like obviously I’m describing what a look does to my character and how it makes her feel not about sex.

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This rule is same as never, isn’t new :woman_shrugging:🏽

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I think that all sounds like it follows the guidelines. :blush:

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Thank you so much!

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