Wattpad Has Big Problems





I see people even asking about general Romance…

Sigh. I understand the other stuff, but a traditional romance? Come on…


Yeah, like, I totally respect if people want to read and write sex scenes, but I think that a book should at least be rated mature or give a warning!


I have romance in my story, but it’s the typical girlfriend and boyfriend and no sex. That apparently still turns some people away. XD


That’s the worst of it, is a lot of these are kids who actually find these things romantic. And yeah, for some people, it’s just fantasizing, but for others, that becomes their definition of storybook love. That’s their ideal. That’s what they look for. It’s dangerous. I don’t know a way to stop it, as it’s very widespread and has soaked into so much of the media, but maybe on here we can at least reduce it.


Exactly, thank you.


Right. I don’t have a problem with it. I’m not trying to delete it or shut it down just because I don’t like to read it meaningful look at users on thread I just appreciate when authors give me a heads-up :joy:


I mean, I have no real prevalent romance subplot in my first book, so I don’t even put it in my tags.

And, I mean, maybe you should put “romance” in your tags? I was just talking about enforcing the rules about rating certain books “mature” but I guess you can’t please everyone in your warnings! :blush:


Ok, no need to throw shade. We’ve somewhat resolved that issue :wink::joy:


Yes, but I think where things get fuzzy on that is it’s hard to pin down what romanticizing abuse or portraying an unhealthy relationship as a good one looks like in a story, and has a lot more grey area. The example that’s coming to mind is a story I read a while back where an author was writing a story that featured an abusive male MC, but the author wanted to show this story about how this woman could get caught up in that kind of relationship and then eventually escape it. But the way the first part was written, the way the woman was responding in her internal narration was (as several readers argued) romanticizing their relationship. But the author felt that because of the as-yet unpublished chapters, the story didn’t romanticize it. It gets complicated when people accept and are attracted to different things, and define romance differently.

I also think that teenagers are (and always have been, and always will be) drawn to “the forbidden” and are experimenting with the limits of what is acceptable and what’s not. I still think that it would ultimately be more effective to have strong examples of stories that have all the darkness and danger these readers crave, while holding the line on explicit consent and communication. I also think it would be great if the romance community had a way of engaging with these younger writers and introducing them to these ideas about what should be incorporated into even the darkest, twistiest romances/characters and how to reflect on their own biases and the problematic tropes that show up in media around them over and over.


I actually do have Romance as a tag. XD


The examples you gave was not romanticizing, it’s depicting a real abusive relationship. Most girls are okay with it at first with the “he only hit me once” or a mentality like that, but showing it devolve and the girl trying to get away is completely realistic and acceptable on WP!

I agree with you that people can cry wolf with these sorts of things or be too sensitive to the topics themselves, but there are certain books that I personally know MULTIPLE people have reported for stuff such as this and it wasn’t taken down. Someone contacted a mod about it and they were appalled and took it down.

The fact that a mod that represents WP took the story down means that it violated the guidelines. The fact that so many people reported the story and were told “it looks okay” by the team multiple times is not acceptable as, when it was actually looked at, it was found to violate the guidelines and was taken down.

There are certain grey areas, yes, but it’s a well-known fact around here that reporting a story in a traditional report gets you nowhere. Nobody really looks at them. When a mod takes the time to look at a reported story, it’s usually taken down.

That’s the problem here. The problem is that people are reporting things that, in a mod’s eyes, break the guidelines and WP is passing over them instead of enforcing the rules.

Just look at the Wattys and you’ll see what I mean! :blush:


Lol, then they have no basis to complain.


Just going to say, I totally agree. I don’t understand why these kinds of stories are even allowed on wattpad. It disgusts me to see people sexualizing children and romanticizing non-con rape and abuse as well as the cyberbullying.
I honestly don’t know whats up with wattpad? I wouldn’t expect this from this writing website specifically. I’m 13 myself and I’ve seen numerous stories like these. but you see, the thing is.

this is a WRITING website. People will write whatever they want to. And many people won’t bother taking it down. Its a writing WEBSITE. Not an actual library or book store. People can post whatever they want and I don’t know if you know, heh, but 12-13 year olds have brains. we can easily avoid the stuff we don’t like, and enjoy the stuff we do.

try going on Ao3 or Fanfiction net I assure you will find a TON of rape/abuse stories. Ao3 LEGIT has a tag, you can now click on warnings and add rape (non-con) to something you’d like to appear.
I feel like you should just deal with it? if they are younger then 12 they will most likely get caught by an adult reading this stuff and the adult will handle and report it. Kids can do stupid stuff but as long as they have the possibility of getting caught they will most likely not do it.

Kids my age especially have the ability to find whatever the hell we want. we even have PornHub now, you see that? private browsing and other stuff makes this stuff easy to find and as long as we aren’t looking for it we will most likely avoid and/or report it ourselves.


Here are a few simple things, I feel that Wattpad can do immediately to help this situation:

Bring back the featured list, but make one for every major category to highlight great stories with artistic merit in each. Wattpad featured stories should set examples for the rest of the community along all manner of guidelines. Solid plot, good writing, etc. I know they have recently brought back the featured applications so this is great.

Clean up categories:
This is easy to do without removing any books. Books which are blatantly about sexual fantasy don’t belong in Fantasy, period. They are taking up room for the fantasy authors in that genre. Cleaning up categories is something I’m fully on board with. I don’t want to see smut when I go look for fantasy, and vise versa.

Fine tune new tag system.
I think the new tag system makes it harder to find books anyone wants to read. Personally I liked the original categories which were straight forward. A set number of relevant tags for literature is better than allowing the public to make up whatever. Going by BISAC Subject Categories is a no brainer.


Agh, totally agree! I’ve already voiced by dislike for the new system earlier :joy:


That was certainly the opinion the author put forward, but I think two things made it tricky: 1. The chapters where the woman changed, recognized this as abuse and tried to escape were never posted and 2. that meant the only existing chapters were of the woman repeatedly thinking of how wonderful/hot/perfect this guy was while he held her over a balcony and forced himself on her. The relationship was never shown as devolving, and the girl never tried to get away.

That’s definitely one of the problems that was brought up. Sounds like Wattpad is struggling with the volume of these stories. I’m more interested in the problem of why so many of them exist and what might change that. That’s what I was trying to talk about in my post.


Ah! I can see how that could’ve been misleading! If she was posting bit by bit, I think the best thing to do to avoid something like that is to put a warning at the beginning of the book that says something like “WARNING: This book deals with the subject of abusive relationships. Though the girl starts off happy, the relationship will soon devolve and she will see the ugly truth of the situation she’s in, so please don’t let the first part of the book fool you! This book is in no way meant to romanticize abuse, but try to show the stages of an abusive relationship from start to finish.” Plus, her blurb should’ve detailed the devolving relationship and the mental state of the girl.

If she’d had something like that up, people might’ve waited until the book was finished to judge if they were romanticizing or not.

But that’s the thing about WP. Since people usually update chapter-by-chapter, books with touch themes like that need to be given until the end of the story to be fully judged, and seeing just a few chapters of the abusive but somewhat happy relationship can be misleading.

I think that author’s biggest weakness was the fact that the whole book wasn’t up yet, not the writing or the book in itself, but I haven’t read it so I can’t really judge :blush:


Society. Our society is sick. That’s my take on it :woman_shrugging:

Little girls and boys get taught that abusive and toxic relationships are ideal, so they go in search of them, and then they end up writing about them and perpetuating the ideas further to young children once again, and the cycle continues.

Like, just remember that we’re in “modern times” and a man in Ireland did not get convicted of rape because his lawyer showed the victim’s thong in court and that “by wearing a thong she was asking for it”. Our society is still very sick.


That and it was tagged as a Romance. Luckily, she was pretty open to the discussion and ended up changing the tags on it, which I think helped change reader’s expectations for the MCs. But I don’t think the story was ever finished.