Last Update: 18 November 2022
- Bravo Fleet uses the RPG Rating System to define appropriate content based on three metrics: Language, Sex, and Violence. RPGs and Fictions should not use the MPAA rating system (G, PG, etc.).
- The default rating for Bravo Fleet content is 1-1-1. All official fiction from Task Force Staff and the Intelligence Office must remain rated 1-1-1. All BFMS pages for a Command, Mission, or Character must remain rated 1-1-1. All articles on the Bravo Fleet wiki must remain rated 1-1-1.
- Members may write Stories of a higher rating, but this must be listed on their Command page on BFMS. They may freely designate their rating up to Language: 2, Sex: 2, and Violence: 2 (16+ age rating). Any Fiction may, if the member wishes, freely choose a 0 rating in any content. An RPG can only be rated 0 with the agreement of the Operations Officer. No Bravo Fleet content can be rated at 3.
- Ratings apply across a Command so readers can tell if a collection of stories they wish to read or an RPG they are interested in is suitable to their tastes. No Story may exceed that Command’s rating, even with content warnings; if this happens, the Command’s overall rating should be raised accordingly.
- No content guidelines can be exhaustive. What is appropriate and inappropriate is the decision of Bravo Fleet Command, and Stories may be removed at the Intelligence Officer’s discretion.
- While the below determinations of appropriate content regularly refer to Star Trek canon as a benchmark, the franchise is sixty years old and has seen many writers and changing attitudes over the period. As such, content depicted in Trek is not automatically acceptable under any and all Bravo Fleet ratings. This policy draws attention to key examples, but simply put, “it happened in Trek,” is not necessarily a defence in cases of policy violations.
- Game Masters of Bravo Fleet RPGs are empowered to draw their own boundaries on what content is inappropriate in their game in addition to the restrictions of the rating system. These boundaries should be included in the RPG proposal or discussed with the Operations Officer and made clear to all members. For example, a Game Master may exclude any form of sexual violence, domestic abuse, or self-harm.
- Readers must be mindful of the rating of Stories and take responsibility for policing their own reading with the expectation that writers will follow this policy. Breaches of the policy should be reported to the Intelligence Officer rather than raised with the authoring member.
- Members of an RPG may raise concerns about a game’s content with their Game Master, regardless of the game’s rating. So long as content adheres to the content policy, further determinations on the inclusion or exclusion of themes are the purview of the GM as set out above.
- Members can give additional content warnings for their writing at their discretion. These should be placed on a Command or Mission page, not in a Story, and they must be specific. For example, a warning that a Command rated 2 for violence includes depictions of physical domestic abuse would be appropriate (though as below is not always required). Do not write non-specific content warnings about a Mission or Command dealing with ‘difficult’ or ‘dark’ themes; this is so vague as to be functionally meaningless. Content warnings exist to help people police their own reading, and should never serve a role sensationalising work.
|0||1||2||3 (not permitted in Bravo Fleet)||Forbidden/Restricted|
- Swearing and profanity are a part of human expression, language, and emotion, but their use in Star Trek has varied over time.
- Content with Language rated at 0 will include no swearing or profanity of any kind.
- Content with Language rated at 1 will use only mild and infrequent swearing. Examples of permitted ‘mild’ language include: damn, crap, ass, bugger. It should be used for occasional and relevant emphasis, and applies to both prose and dialogue. Consider the use of such language in the TNG to ENT era of Star Trek as a guideline.
- Content with Language rated at 2 can use swearing with some limitations. There is no restriction on words because of their profanity, however, writers should consider the genre in which they are writing. While DISCO and PIC have introduced strong profanity like ‘fuck’ to Star Trek, it is still used sparingly and for particular emphasis. Bravo Fleet writers do not need to be as discerning but equally should not write characters who use expletives as punctuation.
- Bravo Fleet draws a distinction between expletives or profanity and slurs. Article II, Section 1 of the Bravo Fleet Charter protects members from harassment or discrimination on the basis of personal and other characteristics and thus racial, gendered, homophobic, or other slurs have no place in Bravo Fleet writing.
- Characters may employ slurs based on fictional characteristics such as being a member of an alien species or culture. These slurs should hold no similarity to any real-world slurs.
- Violence is a part of Star Trek, with characters experiencing peril, combat, and death. Violence to any degree depicted in a Star Trek episode is generally permitted in Bravo Fleet writing with some exceptions detailed below. The rating applies separately to the violent acts occuring and how graphically they are depicted.
- Content with Violence rated at 0 will include no violent content. The writing should contain no peril, meaning there should be no danger to life, body, or health, including danger from natural disasters or disease. Characters should not die and should not be at risk of death.
- Content with Violence rated at 1 will include only mild violence. Acts of violence that might take place in a Star Trek episode are permitted; characters may punch each other, shoot someone with a phaser, stab them, or even disintegrate them with a disruptor. Consoles may explode in a character’s face or they may be crushed under a collapsing bulkhead. Characters may be endangered or even killed by disease or phenomena such as natural disasters or stellar anomalies.
- Writing should be non-graphic, particularly in regard to physical injury, with the focus on the action over the consequences. You may write that someone has been shot with an energy weapon without describing the sight or smell of burnt flesh, or that someone has been stabbed without focusing on torn skin and blood, or that someone has been crushed under falling rocks without focusing on broken bones.
- The violent death of a child should not be depicted at rating 1. Writing may depict their peril or injury or non-lethal violence enacted against them. Their violent death ‘off-screen’ or historically may be mentioned by characters or referenced in prose.
- Content with Violence rated at 2 can depict violence with some limitations. Writing can depict violence such as dismemberment, torture, or mass death, though sexual violence should never be depicted.
- Compared to rating 1, prose at rating 2 can be more explicit about injury and violence. Writing about a punch could describe the feeling of bones breaking under the blow, or of blood gushing from a knife wound. It should be relatively brief, serve to give the violence a sense of impact rather than being gratuitous or overly detailed, and should fall short of writing that could be described as ‘gory’.
- Domestic abuse - which may be but is not limited to physical, mental, emotional, or verbal abuse - should be written with particular care and sensitivity, and references to it should never happen without the explicit permission of every member involved in the story and, in RPGs, the GM.
- Physical domestic abuse should not be depicted at rating 1. This includes (but is not limited to) violence between partners and between parents and children.
- Self-harm should be written with particular care and sensitivity. They should never be depicted directly but may be discussed by characters without explicit detail. References to self-harm of any kind should never happen without the explicit permission of every member involved in the story and, in RPGs, the GM.
- Content about recovery and survival can be powerful and uplifting; therefore, the topics are not explicitly banned. Stories depicting self-harm may, however, be removed at the Intelligence Officer’s discretion.
- Suicide should be written with particular care and sensitivity. As a theme, it has been discussed, explored, and depicted in Star Trek, and is thus not banned. Refer to violence ratings in how to depict suicide in your writing, and consider how suicide may sit within the context of self-harm above in your storytelling. Stories depicting suicide may be removed at the Intelligence Officer’s discretion.
- References to domestic abuse, self-harm, or suicide in official Intelligence Office or Task Force Stories, Bravo Fleet wiki articles, or BFMS Character, Command, or Mission pages should be excluded wherever possible. If present, they must be non-explicit.
- Bravo Fleet acknowledges that sex and sexuality have often been depicted, discussed, and embraced in Star Trek. Our content restrictions exist for people to curate their own reading habits and engagement with regard to sex, rather than to assert prudish judgement.
- Content with Sex rated at 0 may contain no sexual content. There should be no depictions or mention of sexual activity beyond characters kissing.
- Content with Sex rated at 1 may contain mild sexual innuendo and references. Sexual activity beyond characters kissing should not be depicted in prose. Characters do not need to be effectively celibate, but writing can ‘fade to black’ after a kiss or pick up after sexual activity. Discussion of and references to sexual acts or desire should remain inexplicit. They may have conversations using terms such as having ‘slept with’ or ‘had sex with’ someone but should not go into detail. Nudity should be inexplicit and there should be no references to a character’s genitals.
- Content with Sex rated at 2 may depict sexual activity with some limitations. It should not be graphically written, such as by detailing every anatomical act. A sex scene may occur in a story, but should not be the focal point. Writing may rely on implication or focus on a character’s thoughts and feelings. Nudity is allowed.
- For example, a scene may describe a character taking off another’s clothing, describe their emotions at seeing their partner undressed, or mention running their hands over bare skin. It should make no sexualised reference to a character’s genitals or breasts.
- Sexual activity including minors must not be depicted or alluded to. It may not happen in your writing. This includes alien species who may look like human children (under the age of 18) regardless of their actual maturity. Aliens must have reached physical and cultural maturity.
- Bestiality, necrophilia, or incest may not be depicted or mentioned.
- Sexual violence should be addressed, if at all, with particular care, and only at rating 2. It should never be depicted directly in a scene, or be discussed by characters in any detail. Reference to sexual violence of any sort should never happen without the explicit OOC permission of every member involved in the story and, in RPGs, the GM. Stories may be removed at the Intelligence Officer's discretion.
- This policy’s understanding of sexual violence includes but is not limited to: rape, sexual assault, kidnapping for sexual purposes, genital mutilation, or sexual slavery. It also includes implied sexual violence, such as the trope of veiled threats exclusively directed at female characters. However, this policy is unwavering in understanding sexual violence can be inflicted on all genders.
- Sexual violence has been discussed and depicted in Star Trek, such as with sexual slavery practiced by the Orions or the ‘rape gangs’ of Turkana IV. This canonicity does not overrule the above limitations, as most stories can easily be told without these references. For example, Orions can be depicted as engaging in other forms of slavery with often little impact on the story. Members must still secure the permission of other involved writers and/or their Game Master before including such canonical details.
- There must be no references to sexual violence in official Intelligence Office or Task Force Stories, Bravo Fleet wiki articles, or BFMS Command, Mission, or Character pages.