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8/14/2020 4:45 am  #1

Spoilers (about them - not discussing specific ones)

As I mentioned on the Agents of SHIELD thread in the TV section, the latest season has yet to air in the UK. Thankfully, so far everyone here has respected the request to avoid discussing anything that might be a spoiler. Unfortunately for me, I've been slightly less lucky with Facebook, where someone merrily posted their thoughts on the finale, the season's main villain, and the status of some of the regular characters.

I've had the same problem in the past on YouTube - only a week or two ago I went on there to see that people had posted videos discussing the season finale of The Umbrella Academy, and specifically "What that twist ending means" (only their titles were more specific and spoilery), with thumbnails to the videos that actually showed images from the twist ending. Luckily, I didn't see the videos listed until two days after the new season dropped online, by which point I had binged it, but the dates on the videos showed they were uploaded the same day the season went up, meaning they were potentially spoiling the show for anyone who failed to binge the entire season on the first day!

Though it continues to annoy me, I honestly can't say such inconsiderate stupidity shocks me, as it's been this way since forever. Back in the 1990s I remember the early internet spat between British and American Babylon 5 fans, where the Brits asked the Americans to please use spoiler tags, since we were several weeks (minimum) behind the US airings. Few Americans were understanding and did as asked- "just don't go online if you don't want to be spoiled." Some not only rejected the request but were deliberately dickish about it - memorably, one posted about the shock demise of a major character in the latest episode with the thread titled "XXX dies (spoiler warning)" (they named the character; I'm using XXX here because even decades later new people are still discovering the show, and I don't wish to spoil them). However, there was some poetic justice delivered. In the US episodes began airing around September, running four to five episodes at a time before going into hiatus (with re-runs in the gaps) for a month or two, then another batch of four or five, etc. In the UK we started around January, but we didn't get breaks, so the show ran continuously. As it happened, for the first time ever, that season this differing schedule meant that the UK was going to air the final three episodes of the season AHEAD of the US. Cue panicked begging from US fans who had callously dismissed UK fans' requests not to be spoiled, now asking the UK fans not to drop spoilers about the season finale. And yes, the UK fans took great pleasure in returning the favor. 

Another more personal example. I was working in an office when the last couple of Harry Potter novels came out. Someone else in the office decided to discuss the sixth book with the three or four of us present a week or so after it came out; I mentioned I'd not had time to read it yet, but they continued the discussion anyway, with one immediately asking the others "What do you think of XXX dying?" When I objected to having them drop such a huge spoiler, their response was "Why do you care about spoilers? They aren't important anyway." When the seventh and last book came out, I made sure to buy it at midnight the day it was released, and I stayed up through the night, finishing reading it before I went into the office that day. I was tired, but it was worth it to see Mr "Spoilers don't matter" get so upset when I proceeded to return the favor. Apparently spoilers did matter, if it was him being spoiled. 

So, what I am saying in a very long-winded way, is that anyone who spoils me, I can forgive a one-off error, but if you do so deliberately, or repeatedly despite being told not to, then remember, I will do my level best to return the favor. Sometimes being on the receiving end of your own bad behavior is the only way to get the point across that you shouldn't inflict that bad behavior on others.

Do as you would be done by, BUT done by as you did.


8/14/2020 6:12 am  #2

Re: Spoilers (about them - not discussing specific ones)

That sucks about having AoS stuff spoiled on Facebook I think really needs a spoiler tag option. I've posted articles on Facebook but included warnings if the link has spoilers. Worse, It crops blank spaces, so If you want to discuss spoilers you have to include random text between the topic and the spoiler, and even then there's no guarantee that everyone will return the favour. Come to think of it, that might be the one good use of that new Room function, limiting your audience.

What I've also noticed is that when one show ends, there's the risk that if you've seen the ending and are thus okay with reading something, someone will chime in comparing the ending to another show's.

Many sites include spoilers in the headlines as well. They might use that excuse that there was a spoiler warning at the top of the article, but that doesn't help when the spoiler is right in the headline and the article itself was never clicked on. I recall I was waiting for the DVD to binge watch each season of Nip/Tuck. One season had a mystery, started towards the end of the previous season, of who a killer called the Carver was. between the season finale and the DVD release, one website did a headline about a Nip/Tuck actor carving up a new role (or something to that effect) and to further ensure people got the spoiler, showed a photo of said actor.

My feeling, where spoiler tags are possible, is that endings should never be spoiled (except with TV shows it's okay to indicate whether a series had a proper ending, ended on a cliffhanger due to false renewal expectation, or just ended as an ordinary episode; just don't tell precisely what that ending was). Ditto major plot points, even if something is really old. The only exception is when older material is so well known within a particular group that it's pretty much common knowledge, e.g. what happened to Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121 is so well known to people here that it doesn't need a spoiler tag. Conversely in a primarily TV show site I'd expect even that to have a spoiler tag, and despite people here being pop culture buffs, I'm more insistent in spoiler tags for shows, movies, novels, etc. as Handbook fans may not have discovered certain key older shows and movies. So even though the Prisoner aired in the 1960s, the answer to the question of who Number One is warrants a spoiler tag here, whereas it might not in a forum devoted to the show, where it's assumed that everyone has seen the show at least once.  Though due to the show's age, lesser points like the show taking place in the Village are okay. With new material spoiler tags are even more important, even for lesser points. With comics, at least a month for the lesser points, with shows and movies, probably at least half a year due to the show airing elsewhere later issue, people waiting for a legal release on a streaming service, or even people still waiting for the physical copy release.

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8/14/2020 6:23 am  #3

Re: Spoilers (about them - not discussing specific ones)

Yes, while I'd still prefer people run on the assumption that they should avoid spoiling things even years after the fact, I a'm more forgiving of people spoiling things when it's been a long time since the thing came out. It's still aggravating, but at least if it's been a good while, it's not entirely unreasonable when someone assumes you already know. Likewise if you attempt to leave spoiler space, but the site formatting then renders it ineffective; you at least made the effort. I'll still be annoyed at being spoiled, but not mad at the person. However, when people make zero effort, posting spoilers in the header, putting the spoiler up the day an episode airs, etc., then I'm metaphorically prepared to eviscerate them.

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