Do Not Interact

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Synonyms: DNI, Don't Interact, DNF, Do Not Follow
See also: Killfile, Don't Like Don't Read, Dead Dove: Do Not Eat, Byf
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Do Not Interact, abbreviated DNI, is a statement or image banner that states the poster does not want specific people to interact with the post (or them). Those who create DNIs expect the subject of their DNI statements to not follow/subscribe/watch them. DNIs may appear on individual posts or in headers and social media profiles. Some users also have a DNI list, which may either be on a special page- such as a link in their Tumblr sidebar to a custom page- or linked off-site- such as to a Carrd website. DNI banners are more common on Tumblr than Twitter, and on-site DNI lists are more common on Tumblr due to Twitter's post limit. Twitter users making DNI lists opt to use off-site web hosting. Common things to include on a DNIs: bigots, certain shippers, certain character stans, certain otherkin people, minor attracted persons, kink accounts, certain antis, minors, and more.

DNI lists can be much more extensive and detailed in describing the characteristics they do not wish to see/interact with in their social media experience, as it is not character limited like a profile/header, nor distracting from the main point of the post (like an addendum to a post would be). DNIs on individual posts may be added to the post's body or may be part of the tags.

The opposite of a Do Not Interact is a Please Interact, which are usually made as a joke. Some Do Not Interact posts are jokes or satire as well, such as a Transformers Bayverse DNI banner stating "Michael Bay Do Not Interact."[1] Other versions of a DNI are: Do Not Follow (DNF) and Before You Follow (BYF) which function the same way.

History

While the term "Do Not Interact" is a relatively new one, the request is not. One early example is the 2000 request by an X-Files fan stated in Couple of Sheepskins.

Do Not Interact banners may have been influenced by userbox banners, which are wiki-styled banners using the format "this user (statement)," for example: "This user likes userboxes."[2] According to Know Your Meme, the DNI banner emerged in 2016, and one of the earliest iterations of it were "do not reblog if..." banners made by a Tumblr user named CandyDoggo in Oct 2016. Later in November, a user by the name Maisy-Mouse made the first known banners using the do not interact phrasing.[3]

The earliest known use of #BYF on Tumblr is April 29, 2013, in an "About Me/Before You Follow" post by retroelf.[4] It is typical of the later DNI/BYF posts and pages to request non-interaction from certain demographics (age, sexuality labels, etc.) followed by a list of unwanted characteristics of followers (very young, anti-feminist, homophobic, right-wing politics, etc.).

As the popularity of DNIs grew so did pushback against them (see Discussion and Criticism) and so did jokes and parodies of them (see Parodies and Jokes).

Use in Gaming

In 2019, Olivia Hill and Filamina Young released "iHunt," a Fate (RPG) game, with a "No Fascists" warning, which is commonly called the "Olivia Hill Rule."[5] This warning, or an adapted version of it, has since been included in several tabletop RPGs at itch.io, including some that are offered for free under Creative Commons licenses. The rule can't be enforced, but it serves as a "DNI" statement.

If you’re a fascist, you’re not welcome to play this game. It’s against the rules. If you’re reading this and thinking, “You just call everyone you disagree with a fascist,” then you’re probably a fascist, or incapable of drawing inferences from context and acknowledging a dangerous political climate that causes the oppressed to be hyperbolic. Don’t play this game. Heal yourself. Grow. Learn. Watch some Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or something.

Other games with the rule include:

  • Divinity Fall by Catscratcher ("[F]ascists are not allowed. Racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, or people who subscribe to any other sort of bigotry or injustice against minorities: you’re not welcome here, and we don’t want you playing any of our games.")
  • Familiar Unfamiliar by Peach Garden Games ("If you're homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic, ableist, or in any other way opposed to the fundamental humanity of someone else, please feel free to leave.")
  • Victor's GM-less Oracle by CurseNightGames ("Moral Rights (The Olivia Hill Rule): You may not use, share, or adapt this material if you are a fascist, racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, or other bigot or reactionary.")
  • Goblinauts by BasiliskOnline copies the original iHunt text
  • The FireJam game event (similar to a fic challenge) recommended that games include it.

Use on AO3

DNI tags began appearing on fics posted at AO3 as early as 2019[6][7] as part of fannish cultural shifts. Some early DNI tags were popular in Minecraft fandom: SHIPPERS DNI was first used in September 2020, Antis DNI in November 2020, and poppytwt dni in July 2021. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fandom, the Tcest DNI tag was started in June 2020 and synned to the canonical tag No Turtlecest (TMNT). The Proshippers dni tag started in January 2021 with a Cookie Run fic, but saw an increase in use in early 2022 in a variety of fandoms. Minors DNI seems to have been in use as early as 2019. In the Genshin Impact fandom, KAELUC SHIPPERS DNI was used for the first time on April 23, 2021. Kaeluc is a controversial ship; although Kaeya and Diluc are not biological brothers, many fans see them as family. The tag is mostly used in fanfics that focus on Kaeya & Diluc gen relationship. It also has some use in clashing ship stories like Diluc/Childe or Kaeya/Albedo. Although more rarely, it has also been used in Kaeluc dead dove fanfics, to warn shippers that perhaps the content of that story is not what they are looking for. There is also a RemRom shippers DNI tag in the Sanders Sides fandom first used in July 2019.

Compliance with DNI tags is not part of traditional Ao3 culture, as it is on the sites such as Tumblr and (to some extent) Twitter, which can lead to tension. Compliance is also not enforceable on AO3, and some DNI tags have been reported to the abuse team for harassment, though a simple "DNI" tag isn't a terms of service violation unless it also contains a threat or other targeted harassment.[8][9]

Common DNI Topics

Many DNIs include several of these, often phrased as "DNI if you are..." or "DNI: (label)."

Some are so common, that many blogs have a note that starts with something like, "DNI: - basic dni criteria (racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc)," leaving the reader to figure out what "etc." should encompass.

Discussion and Criticism

DNIs are somewhat similar to the concept of don't like don't read, and dead dove do not eat, where the content one consumes is considered to be the responsibility of the consumer, not the person making the content. For example, if a user has "DNI if you like Homestuck," then it is assumed the user may have anti-Homestuck material on their blog and anyone who doesn't want to see that should avoid them. If someone viewed such a blog, saw anti-Homestuck material, and then became upset, then the blog host may point them towards their clearly outlined DNI stating that they did not like Homestuck, or whatever other material may have been on their DNI list.

From dnibyf

One prominent source of meta discussion and criticism of DNIs is from a Tumblr blog specifically created for anti-DNI posting, called dnibyf. This blog centers around pasting screenshots of DNI content and criticizing them. Some of these critiques are listed below.

  • dnibyf critiqued the vagueness of some DNIs, such as DNIs that include generalized statements. For example, "DNI if you have a discourse centric blog" could encompass any user who owned a discourse sideblog or just someone who engages in discourse.[10] Another example given is the common "usual criteria" included in some DNIs, which dnibyf viewed as too general for interpretation.[11]
  • Criticisms of comparing different subjects together which some may not view as equal, such as listing fandoms next to discrimination or sexual assault/harassment of minors. For example, listing transphobia, minor-attracted persons, and homophobia beside the webtoon Hazbin Hotel.[12]
  • Whether or not DNIs are even useful at all, particularly DNIs that include "porn bots" or "spam blogs" as criteria, because bots do not have the capability to read DNIs or adhere to them.[13] Or, if a spam blog was being run by a real person, whether or not a user engaging in spam would care to be respectful of a DNI at all.
  • Whether DNIs are useful to blogs when the scope of the blog is different from the criteria in their DNI. For example, whether an "aesthetic blog" would ever even come into contact with certain subjects on their DNI, such as fandoms or NSFW content. dnibyf said of this: "I don’t really understand “don’t follow if you’re a NSFW blog” because you’re not following them…you won’t see their posts."[14]

Dnibyf theorized that the true purpose of a DNI is not to ward off certain demographics, but as performative morality (the concept that people pretend to be more "socially aware" than they really are for the sake of appearances or "clout") to show others online what they do and do not support. For example, someone with "DNI if you're an anti" would imply that the user was a pro-shipper, and "DNI if you're a MAP" would imply the user is against pedophiles.

Another quote from dnibyf is below.

A nagging part of finding DNIs that have no real merit to exist make me think DNIs are performative so that toxic progressive people can check you off as a “fandom critical” or “proper woke tumblr blogger”, you think?

How often do openly racist people on the internet touch your blog, seriously? How many nazis do you know on tumblr that will reblog your posts? How many homophobes will send you asks on anon? Well, maybe rude people slinging homophobic remarks when you’re not that perfect “fandom critical” or “proper woke tumblr blogger”, I suppose.

I’ve got this hypothesis that it’s just a backwards performance to show off who their network doesn’t like, to prevent getting harassed by toxic fandom police and fake-wokes passing by. Which ironically aren’t on those very same DNI…?

dnibyf, Aug 2020[15]

Conversely, another user has countered some parts of dnibyf's criticisms of DNI posts. They stated that the idea that DNIs exist only performatively is incorrect. They also countered the criticism of "general" DNIs, such as DNIs that simply say "DNI if the usual criteria" or similar phrasings. They stated that the "usual criteria" is "obvious" because the "usual criteria" would include the criteria most often listed on DNIs, such as pedophilia/MAPs, incest, racists, nazis, homophobes, transphobes, etc, and that anyone criticizing the use of "general criteria" is nitpicking on purpose or pretending to not know what it means.[16]

Some users may also disagree with dnibyf and take their criticism with a grain of salt, as some may interpret some of their criticisms as being in support of incest shipping.[17][18]

From Elsewhere

Fansplaining devoted their 148th episode to the subject of DNIs.

Criticisms of DNIs often focus in on impracticalities related to age. Consider this Tumblr post from thunderpibb:

"so funny when an 18 year old has “minors dni” in their bio. this guy wears horse blinders when they go to algebra 2."[19]

On Reddit a screenshot of Tumblr user surprisedentistry joking about DNIs was shared in a thread in order to discuss DNIs.[20] Quotes from the comment section are included below.

[AlicornOfDiversity, Feb 28, 2021]
Yeah, it's so weird. I took a break from tumblr for a year, and suddenly DNIs exist. And I get it, if it's something like "pro-shippers DNI", that's fine, you don't want your stuff on a shipping positive blog, most will probably heed that. But yeah, when it comes to terfs or na#is, do you really think they'll give a $hit? They're not exactly known for respecting other people. Also, the DNIs are practically useless if they're in your profile, not on your post. Honestly, when a post randomly crosses my dash and I reblog it, I don't go to your profile to look for DNI. I reblog and keep scrolling. And I don't even know half the acronyms, google doesn't help either, so either explain them or block me if you disagree.
[sofie-the-trans-girl, Feb 28, 2021]
I feel like a DNI for nazis, terfs, etc. is less for making bigots go away and more for making it clear to others that your blog is a safe space for people who want to avoid those things.

Tumblr user veliseraptor received an anonymous ask asking "Wait, what's wrong with dni's?" They replied with a short meta piece criticizing DNIs. Veliseraptor argued that ignoring a DNI to reblog someone's blog post does not automatically "contaminate you by proximity." The full response is included below.

Look, if I am someone who, say, ships a ship you don’t like, interacting with completely unrelated content, am I somehow like. Tainting it by association?

This post was actually brought on by a mutual talking this morning and using the delightful and in my opinion very apt analogy of it feeling a little like being at a farmer’s market and someone has a sign that’s like “do not buy my zucchini if you’ve ever swum in the ocean.”

It’s one thing if people are like “please don’t tag this content as [x] ship” or even “this blog is nsfw so please don’t follow me if you’re under 18″ but I’m talking about the dni’s that are like. “if you ship incest do not interact! if you are a fan of [x] do not interact! if you have ever THOUGHT ABOUT something IN THE VICINITY OF THIS THING I FIND PROBLEMATIC DO NOT INTERACT”

in those cases it’s like. am I, by reblogging a random text post from you, somehow, like. contaminating you by proximity? cause, uh.

not sure how that works.

Like, okay, I get maybe you don’t want people you don’t like to benefit from your content or whatever, but you don’t have any control over that when you post in a public or semi-public forum! If you want to control who has access to your work then Tumblr is not the place for it! I am sorry!

and also if you know that there are specific users you don’t like that is what the block button is for.

at this point dni’s just feel like performative gestures meant to illustrate how Unproblematic you are and how you Reject Those Degenerates.

tbh a) most people aren’t going to read your dni info, so those problematic horribles you don’t want are never going to know anyway and b) the people you really hate probably aren’t going to care.

veliseraptor, Oct 5, 2020[21]

Examples

DNI Banners

DNI Lists

Tagged with DNI

Parodies and Jokes

Further Reading

References

  1. ^ Michael Bay Don't Interact, Jun 6, 2018 (Accessed 1/27/2021)
  2. ^ user-boxer, Tumblr. (Accessed 1/19/2021)
  3. ^ Do Not Interact, Know Your Meme (Accessed 1/19/2021)
  4. ^ About Me, Apr 29, 2013, Wayback capture on Mar 29, 2021
  5. ^ No Fascists at RPG museum, link accessed Mar 31, 2021
  6. ^ For example, see the "pedos and fujoshis dni" tag on a My Hero Academia fanfic, it's you (it's always been you) by ssolaris, Archived version, 27 May 2019. (Accessed 24 October 2022.)
  7. ^ Another example: "RemRom shippers DNI" on a Sanders Sides fanfic, Red With Envy by sleepy_sphinx_archives, Archived version, 11 July 2019. (Accessed 24 October 2022.)
  8. ^ Re: Not Even Going To Bother Clicking, Archived version, fail_fandomanon thread, 2022-02-25.
  9. ^ tweet by steelstud92, Archived version, 24 Sep 2022.
  10. ^ Ugh, just another one of those weird technical gripes of DNIs, Tumblr. Dec 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  11. ^ Excuse me what, Tumblr. Oct 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  12. ^ “stan hazbin hotel”, Tumblr. Oct 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  13. ^ wow, have we found THE “usual DNI” page?, Tumblr. Jul, 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  14. ^ I don’t really understand “don’t follow if you’re a NSFW blog” Jul 2020. (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  15. ^ A nagging part of finding DNIs, Tumblr. Aug 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  16. ^ Verbal primary source, 1/27/2021. (Cited 1/28/2021)
  17. ^ “Support incest” definitely refers to shipping, no way it doesn’t. Tumblr. Aug 2020. (Accessed 1/27/2021)
  18. ^ I thought “being ok with incest” Tumblr. Jun 2020 (Accessed 1/27/2021)
  19. ^ Tumblr post by tunderpibb. Sept 27, 2021. Archived from the original on October 1, 2021.
  20. ^ DNIs and Tumblr, Reddit. Feb 27, 2021 (Archived 1/12/2023)
  21. ^ Look, if I am someone who, say, ships a ship you don’t like, Tumblr. Oct 5, 2020 (Accessed 1/12/2023) Archived 1/12/2023)