Shipping discourse honestly could be avoided entirely with these simple steps:
1. If you ship a ship that may possibly trigger anyone or that people have expressed they are uncomfortable with, please tag appropriately. Better yet, put the ship name and any warnings in the actual post (possibly in a disclaimer) so even if others reblog and don’t tag, blacklist should still notice it.
2. If a ship makes you uncomfortable for any reason, don’t follow those who ship it, blacklist the ship name and any content warnings for things that make you uncomfortable or trigger you, and perhaps block those who are often making content for said ship if you don’t wish to see their posts in the searches or tags. Xkit and Tumblr Savior, as well as Tumblr’s own block feature, are very useful tools. Use them.
3. Similarly, if you do ship it, you can follow the same steps for avoiding those who don’t and are vocal about it.
4. You can post your opinion against the ship on your blog. That is fine. However, put slashes through the ship name if you mention it (both in the post itself and in the tags) so that it doesn’t show up in the search where the fans of said ship will be browsing in hopes to see more content of that ship. They are not, ever, in a million years, hoping to see your negative opinion while looking for content. Same goes for using the tags they use.
5. If someone expresses they are uncomfortable with a ship, do not press the matter. Do not bug them until they give you a reason (that reason could be trauma that the ship reminds them of and they, under no circumstances, are required to reveal that information to you). Do not intentionally send them it. Do not push it on them. Do not expect them to possibly cater to you and your wants just because you do happen to like it. You would not like the same done to you.
6. If someone does ship a ‘problematic’ ship, they are not obligated to give you a reason in order for their shipping of said content to be ‘acceptable.’ Again, past trauma may be involved and they are not required to give you that information under any circumstances. You may trigger them. Don’t press it.
7. Do not target specific blogs or vague about others that have the opposing opinion of you in regards to a ship. Or anything, for that matter. It’s not only rude but crossing a line. You want them to respect you and your boundaries? Respect theirs.
8. Do not throw around serious accusations/insults like ‘pedophile’ or ‘abuse apologist’. For one, what someone ships does not at all mean they condone any problematic content involved in real life. Secondly, you may be throwing shade that could very well be related to past trauma (ie calling a csa survivor a pedophile) and that could cause flashbacks and/or panic attacks. That’s not cool at all. Have some human decency.
9. If a ship is generally considered bad by the fandom and you create content of it, please attempt to avoid using the general character tags. If unavoidable (like with the case of fic, where the character names are likely to come up) please be sure to put warnings in your post and try to make it as easy to blacklist as possible.
10. Do not intentionally seek out drama from people on the opposing side. Do not intentionally try to start shit or go after anyone over it. I would think this would be obvious, but it apparently isn’t. No matter your side on the matter, this is unacceptable and only makes others on your side look bad and take away from the credibility of your opinions. It also will make people less inclined to care about your side of the matter and won’t really benefit you in the long term.
11. Remember that YOU are responsible for YOUR comfort in your browsing experience. No one else is. If you are bothered by anything in fandom, whether a ship or those who oppose said ship, then you need to do what you can to make your browsing experience safe from it all. YOU. Not others. No one else is responsible for that but YOU.
12. However, you should also do what you can to make your content able to be avoided easily by those who will do what they can to do so. Remember to make sure you make your post easy to blacklist by those who may want to avoid it. If someone sees a post that upsets them because you didn’t do whatever you could to make it possible for them to not see it, then that isn’t exactly fair either.
13. Remember that there is a real, live, complex human being behind that computer. There is more to them than what they ship or don’t ship, and acting like that is the all there is to them is not showing them respect. It doesn’t matter if they do things you think isn’t okay. They deserve respect as a fellow human being. Even if there is discourse between you guys, please don’t forget there is a human being there and they are just as complex as you and deserve to be thought of as such. There is always more to these things than is shown on the surface, and that should be considered when interacting with them. Stay calm and consider their side as well as yours and be respectful of both sides. It’s hard, I know. It’s so much easier to dehumanize a person and judge them entirely off of one aspect of their lives. But the easier path isn’t always the better one.
Please consider all of these points for the future. If we could all learn how to get along and respect each other, then discourse about this could easily be in the past. We should all be coming together to celebrate a piece of media we all like, not tearing each other apart over insignificant things like ships.