Do Not Interact

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Synonyms: DNI, Don't Interact, DNF, Do Not Follow, BYF, Before You Follow
See also: Killfile, Don't Like Don't Read, Dead Dove: Do Not Eat
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Do Not Interact, abbreviated DNI, is a statement or image banner attached to a post that states the poster does not want specific people to interact with the post (or them). Some online 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). A DNI list is used to list all the things that the user wishes to not interact with them nor their posts. Lastly, some users will tag their blog posts with do not interact statements. Those who create DNI banners and lists also expect the subject of their DNI statements to not follow/subscribe/watch them. DNI banners are more common on Tumblr than Twitter, but 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 DNI banner or list are: certain ships, certain character stans, certain otherkin people, minor attracted persons, kink accounts, certain antis, minors, and more.

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 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

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: a list of personal identity details (age, sexuality labels, etc.) followed by a list of unwanted characteristics of followers. (In this case: very young, anti-feminist, homophobic, right-wing politics, etc.)

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.

Common DNI Topics

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

  • Homophobic/Anti-LGBT/Anti-MOGAI
  • Racist
  • Ableist
  • Sexist/Misogynist
  • TERF/SWERF
  • Ace-Exclusionist
  • Ace-Inclusionist
  • Truscum/Transmed/Tucute
  • Anti-Truscum
  • Anti-shipper
  • Pro-shipper
  • Pedophile/NOMAP/Underage shipper
  • Incest supporter
  • Anti-SJW
  • Anti-kin
  • (prefix)kin (e.g. DNI Factkin, DNI
  • Hate speech
  • Nazi or Nazi Supporter
  • A minor
  • Over 30
  • CisHet
  • NSFW blog
  • Various fandom-specific criteria, like "Bakugou Apologist" or "Anakin/Amidala Shipper"
  • littles/DDLG
  • Anti-Littles/DDLG
  • Syscourse

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.

Most meta discussion and criticism of DNI posts and lists is from a Tumblr blog specifically created for anti-DNI posting, called dnibyf. This blog centers around pasting screenshots of DNI content and picking them apart. One critique from the blog criticises the vagueness of some DNI posts, such as one that states DNI if someone had a "discourse centric blog," would could include a general number of people, from anyone with a discourse side blog to supporters of discourse. [6] Another was a DNI that simply stated "DNI if u follow the usual criteria, otherwise i block freely," which got the same criticsm for its generalization.[7] Dnibyf also criticized DNIs for lumping certain things together, such as certain fandoms with discrimination or pedophiles. For example, listing transphobia, minor-attracted persons, and homophobia with the webtoon Hazbin Hotel.[8] However, dnibyf's pro-shipper supportive posts that defended incest[9] and made assumptions towards "pedophilia DNIs" assuming they mean just "age gaps," which don't always refer to minor/adult ships,[10] may cause other users, particularly anti-shippers, to take such criticism with a grain of salt.

Dnibyf also has a discussion on whether or not DNI are even useful at all. For example, users who have listed "porn bots" or "spam blogs" on their DNI. Because it is unlikely that a porn or spam bot would read a DNI, or even have the capability to, such things on a DNI list would be unhelpful.[11] And, if an actual person was running a spam blog as opposed to a bot, would they even care about a DNI list considering their existence would be to spam? Similarly, DNIs on blogs that are completely out of the scope of certain things, such as SFW blogs, aesthetic blogs, or specialized fandom blogs, may not even come into contact with the subjects of their DNIs list enough to even warrant the time spent making the DNIs in the first place. The DNI criticism blog 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."[12] Dnibyf theorized that, considering this, the true purpose of a DNI is not to ward off certain people, but as performative morality (the concept that people pretend to be more "woke" than they really are for the sake of appearances) 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[13]

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, and that the purpose of DNI posts are indeed to keep others from interacting with them. For example, someone who likes Steven Universe would likely not want to interact with someone who had a SU crit blog. Thus, if a DNI page stated "DNI if you're not critical of Steven Universe," then this would be helpful to someone who isn't in the SU crit movement because now they know who to avoid trying to make friends with. That would save both the SU crit blogger and the SU stan time. 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 and pretending to not know what it means.[14]

Examples

DNI Banners

DNI Lists

Tagged with DNI

Further Reading

  • Tumblr meta criticizing DNI posts that focus on kink art

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 1/19/20210
  4. ^ About Me, Apr 29, 2013, Wayback capture on Mar 29, 2021
  5. ^ No Fascists at RPG museum, link accessed Mar 31, 2021
  6. ^ Ugh, just another one of those weird technical gripes of DNIs, Tumblr. Dec 2020 (Accessd 1/24/2021)
  7. ^ Excuse me what, Tumblr. Oct 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  8. ^ “stan hazbin hotel”, Tumblr. Oct 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  9. ^ “Support incest” definitely refers to shipping, no way it doesn’t. Tumblr. Aug 2020. (Accessed 1/27/2021)
  10. ^ I thought “being ok with incest” Tumblr. Jun 2020 (Accessed 1/27/2021)
  11. ^ wow, have we found THE “usual DNI” page?, Tumblr. Jul, 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  12. ^ I don’t really understand “don’t follow if you’re a NSFW blog” Jul 2020. (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  13. ^ A nagging part of finding DNIs, Tumblr. Aug 2020 (Accessed 1/24/2021)
  14. ^ Verbal primary source, 1/27/2021. (Cited 1/28/2021)