The Robloxian Television Ratings System, or RTRS, is a television content rating system designed to give viewers information on how suitable a program is for them, and to make sure that certain content is not viewed by an audience that may find it inappropriate or disturbing. Currently, the ratings guidelines are controlled and managed by the Roblox Television Networks Group.
The idea of the RTRS was toyed around with by BenzBot in March 2012. He studied the television ratings systems of numerous countries (specifically, the Wikipedia article linked above), and based the majority of his system on the ratings systems of the United States, Australia, and Canada (with some additional influence from personal opinion and other countries). The RTRS was announced on March 24, 2012, and was almost immediately adopted by rTV Networks and Roblox Networks Television. TamatedRNetworks, whom were given the option to adopt it, ad decided not to do so until July 13, 2013, when a major shift in branding and focus occurred. XtremeTV and Lava Lamp Entertainment (on Harmony, Talker and Joystick) also have plans to use the RTRS.
While the main members of the RTNG and some other networks use the system, other major networks do not: RPN, for example, uses the standard American ratings system, as well as Lava Lamp Entertainment's channels which focus on IRL programming (although as of May 2017, they are purportedly being converted to the RTRS). Most other Robloxian television networks use no system at all.
Only a few rules apply to broadcasters using the RTRS:
- The RTRS must be applied to all programs on a network.
- All entertainment genres, including movies, fall under the rating system.
- The ratings can be inserted in the post-production (editing) process or at broadcast time.
- Program ratings are determined on a per-episode basis, meaning a show can be rated 7 in one episode and PG in another.
- Programs should be mostly rated one rating, for general consistency purposes, but there are no penalties or rules stating that the ratings cannot fluctuate in an abnormal manner (ex. G one episode, 13 the next).
- The rating should appear at the start of the program, and, optionally if applicable, after every break.
- Ident warnings about program content (either generic or program-specific) must play before 13 and 18 rated shows, and are optional for PG and 7 rated shows.
G: Suitable for all audiences. While recommended, display of the G RTRS rating is optional. Most programs on Robloxian television are probably well inside the G rating, and the majority of the programs not suitable for a G rating are inside the boundaries for a PG rating. The G rating can be the baseline for determining other ratings.
Y: Aimed at a children's audience, but still suitable for all viewers. There may be slightly stricter limitations between a G and a Y rating in some instances, for example, some references may not be suitable for a Y rating that are acceptable for a G rating, but generally, the G and Y ratings are the same basic rating.
PG: Parental guidance suggested for younger viewers. Usually, "younger viewers" will be defined as a child between eight and ten years old, although the definition may be altered slightly for certain programs. A program rated PG may have an advisory clip (aired before the program) notifying viewers of harsher content in the program (a 'high PG' rating).
7: Suitable for children 7 years and up. Based off the US TV-Y7, the 7 rating acts as a midpoint between a PG and a 13 rating, allowing some crude humor, mild violence or fantasy violence, and certain other content. The 7 rating can also be applied to storylines that may be too complex, controversial, sensitive, frightening, or not clearly understandable for younger audiences.
13: The highest rating most networks will ever receive for a program, a rating that states that the program may contain suggestive dialogue, strong or coarse language (including swearing), online dating or sexual references, stronger violence, and sexual innuendo. In some cases, the rating may also include nudity, depending on the context (for example, if someone is running "naked" in the street, it will only be a 7 rating, but if someone is taking their clothes off in the context of sexual intercourse, it will be a 13 or even an 18 rating).
18: This rating is only applied in certain circumstances where a 'high 13' rating cannot be applied truthfully. This rating can include extremely intense violence, strong profanity or swearing, sexual references, certain types of nudity that cannot be covered by a 7 or 13 rating (including full frontal nudity), and some other content not suitable for any other rating.
NR: This rating only applies when a program is sponsored (such as paid programming), or some documentary-style programming under a news brand. The display of the NR symbol, like the G symbol, is optional, yet recommended, and programs rated NR cannot exceed a certain amount of objectionable content or it will be placed under a regular rating.
There are four main and six secondary content descriptors, that, when applicable, must be displayed on the side of or under the main rating.
Main content descriptors Edit
- D: Dialogue or context that references sexual, drug-related, violent, or disturbing content. Used mainly with the 13 and 18 ratings.
- S: Denotes sexual content, such as online dating, innuendo, nudity (which, in certain contexts, can be eligible for a 7 rating), or anything related to sexuality or intercourse. Used mainly with the 13 and 18 ratings (with the nudity exception for 7 mentioned above).
- L: Language and swearing, mainly profanity, vulgar, racial and ethnic slurs, and other offensive language. Used mainly with the PG, 13 and 18 ratings.
- V: Any kind of violence, including blood, gore, harmful threats, and peril or distress in some contexts (ie. A medieval damsel in distress is fine for a G or Y rating, someone cornered at or hanging off of a cliff is suitable for a 7 rating, but things like domestic violence are automatic 13 and 18 ratings). Used with 7 (fantasy violence), PG, 13, and 18 ratings.
Secondary content descriptors Edit
- G: Game-based violence. Due to the nature of Roblox, certain types of violence are exempt from the V descriptor and are instead given a G descriptor, which is acceptable in all but the G and Y ratings. Scenes that can be easily identified as game-based violence, such as a character resetting themselves, a rocket launcher being fired at, aimed at, or hitting someone, sword fighting, and other types of violence that is Roblox-specific will receive a G descriptor, while scenes like someone shooting someone, stabbings, or any bloodletting will receive a V descriptor.
- A: Adult themes or references in the 13 and 18 ratings. Generally includes things like alcohol references, sexual references not already covered by the S descriptor, or drug references or references to illegal activity.
- H: Horror scenes in the 13 and 18 ratings. Along with the V descriptor, this descriptor denotes additional violence, or scenes that may be emotionally damaging, or similar to a horror movie.
- P: Paranormal or supernatural scenes or references, including, but not limited to ghosts, strange activity, and references to the devil not already covered by the H or V ratings. This rating may also be applied in conjunction with the H or V ratings.
- W: War or battle themes, in the 7 (if mild), 13, and 18 ratings, including, but not limited to: fighting with weapons not covered by the V or G descriptors, gunfights, raids, and shows or episodes involving war groups and clans.
- R: Rude or mean behavior to others in the 7 (if mild), 13, and 18 ratings. This includes bullying in all forms, insults not already covered by the L descriptor (can be used in conjunction with L as well), threats in a non-harmful manner or deemed unsuitable for the V descriptor (this can be used in conjunction with the V descriptor as well).
Instead of or in conjunction with these descriptors, broadcasters may add some other specific content definitions or descriptions as they see fit, but they will have to use the broader descriptors when showing the ratings symbol in the program.
Exceptions and Special PremisesEdit
There are some exceptions and special premises in some of the ratings and descriptors.
- News and sports programming are exempt from the ratings, and the ratings should not be used in any case on these programs.
- Pornographic content and scenes of rape and other violent torture are banned from broadcast.
- Some descriptors may be context-dependent to determine ratings, such as a 7 for nudity, some G or Y descriptor factors, and the definitions of peril and distress presented, as explained above.
- Language falling under the L descriptor may vary due to the various countries of origin of Robloxian television networks, and as an effect, differences in local slang.
- Certain additional warnings may be added by the broadcaster due to country of origin or other issues (ex. rTV could broadcast a show with police lights and not give any warning about them, while RN could broadcast the same show with a flashing lights or flashing images warning).