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Synonyms: Do Not Want
See also: squick
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DNW, or Do Not Want, is used most often in the context of fanfiction or fanart exchanges as a broad, nonjudgemental, and undetailed way to refer to things which one wishes not to receive, read, view, or otherwise encounter. It can be used as an abbreviation ("I DNW casefic.") or a noun ("I've put crossovers in my DNWs.") or a verb ("I've DWN'd the juggernaut ship.")

Unlike triggers or squicks, DNWing something indicates nothing about one's general opinion on the subject. Someone might DNW something because:

  • it upsets them
  • they don't like it
  • they've received it in the last five exchanges and want something different this time
  • they don't want works involving it tied to the account they used to sign up for the exchange
  • they only like it in a very particular way that their writer couldn't be expected to achieve within the scope of the exchange
  • some combination of the above
  • some other reason entirely

It is not generally considered any of the writer's business why their recip has DNW'd something, although in ambiguous cases the writer may react out to the exchange mod and have them ask the recip for clarification. For example, if a recip signed up to receive work involving sex pollen but also has noncon and dubcon in their DNW, the writer may need further clarification on what the recip actually wants — they may only want sex pollen plotlines with established consent, they may have copied a DNW list from a previous exchange and forgotten to remove conflicting items for their new signup, or they may need to clarify that the inclusion of non- or dubcon would be okay in the sex pollen story they requested but not in other stories.

DNWs are usually included in the optional details of a gift exchange sign up form or in dear creator letters and unlike other optional details, the exclusion of DNWs is not usually actually considered optional. At the very least, ignoring DNWs will come off as extremely rude, but most exchanges have rules against writers ignoring their recipient's DNW and will ban writers who purposefully include their recipient's DNWs, because the point of gift exchanges is for all participants to receive a fanwork that they like.

There is occasionally civil debate and/or gratuitous wank about whether all things are eligible for DNWing. Some fans think it infringes on the writer's freedom (or might make it too hard for the writer to complete their assignment) if a requester DNWs POV or tense. Additionally, DNWing too many or very specific things may also be seen as a way to "game the system" or trap a writer into writing something in particular that they didn't specifically sign up for, which may be seen as a poor use of DNWs. Someone who DNWs present and past tense would be requiring their writer to write in future tense, for example, and some fans don't think that the recipient should be able to make such specific demands from their writer in a field that isn't used for matching.

Further Reading