Spoiler Alert

I don’t care about spoilers.

I realize a lot of people do. I understand that because I also used to care, but at some point what I realized was the amount of energy I spent worrying about, reacting to, avoiding and complaining about spoilers simply outstripped whatever vague enjoyment I got from being surprised around some plot point. Worse still, most of the time the thing that might have been spoiled turned out to not be that damn big a deal anyway.

Much ado was made back in 2011 about a study from the University of California in San Diego that said (spoiler alert) that having a story spoiled for you is unlikely to impact your enjoyment of that story. According to the UCSD study, in fact the opposite seemed more likely to be true, “Subjects significantly preferred the spoiled versions of ironic-twist stories, where, for example, it was revealed before reading that a condemned man’s daring escape is all a fantasy before the noose snaps tight around his neck.”

My response at the time was, “Hey, I was going to read that story about the escaping man. Thanks for ruining it, loser.” It was 2011, I had not yet grown as a person.

My big problem with spoilers is that they are arbitrarily defined. There is no clearly defined threshold for what is and is not a spoiler. It’s not that I can’t live in a world with gray areas, but more that spoilers are really an entirely constructed interpretation of a made up rule, and that rule is exclusive to the person for whom the spoiler exists, unknowable to others in advance, but an imperative for everyone around whom the spoiler-rule exists. Avoiding spoilers might be fine if we all knew and shared the same sets of spoiler rules, but we don’t.

Spoiler rules used to be fairly straightforward and uniform, or at least I thought they were. It was admittedly easier back then, when spoilers were really only about the resolution of narratives. Now, however, the misuse of a gender pronoun can send people into an apoplexy because suddenly they know the hero of some movie they haven’t seen yet is a certain sex.

In part because of that arbitrariness, spoilers are selfish. They restrict and divide, asking people who have the temerity to be interested in talking about this thing they’ve experienced to please go somewhere else. They impose your schedule for consuming media onto others.

It’s not that I don’t understand or sympathize with the desire to keep something a surprise to experience in the intended context. My problem is when people make that desire the responsibility of everyone else instead of themselves. If you want to avoid spoilers, that’s fine, but it’s on you to limit yourself, not on everyone else around you to limit themselves. As far as I can tell, even if that thing you didn’t want spoiled gets spoiled, odds are you’re going to enjoy it every bit as much anyway.

A lot of people have become absolutely obsessed with spoilers. I blame this, to some degree, on the makers of a lot of pop culture, who have themselves become obsessed with “The Big Secret” or “The Amazing Reveal” or “The Game-Changing Plot Twist.” The television and cinemas are jam packed with stories that depend largely on their own secrets. They encourage watchers to micro-analyze every little kernel of story to try and guess the secret. This is problematic because it trains us to doubt every plot point — to believe that any image or half-spoken sentence, no matter how small or irrelevant, could be the thread that, when pulled, reveals the entire thing, whatever that thing may be.

And so we become obsessed with what we do and don’t know about shows, books and films. We imagine that finding out the big secret will provide some kind of enhanced payoff for the time we invest in the story, and as a result we become petrified of anything that might diminish that payoff. Spoiler-obsessed people sometimes seem to think of their entertainment consumption in a transactional sense. I have invested X of myself into this story, therefore the payout must be Y to achieve a positive time-to-cost ratio.

And spoilers? Well those are like taxes, hidden fees, shrink or some other kind of loss against the principal. Spoilers are seen to be this thing that reduces the payoff, and by extension devalues the time you’ve invested, or in the really extreme cases, that time you would have invested but haven’t yet.

Which, I think, is complete nonsense. Worse, I think that kind of transactional stance doesn’t do justice to the quality of the work that’s out there. Reducing things down to the quantification of some gimmick undermines the power of narrative.

Look at a work like Game of Thrones and the Song of Ice and Fire series. When I read (or in my case listened to audiobooks of) that series, if I had gone in only for the occasional plot twist or epic event, then I never would have made it through a few dozen pages. That time-to-cost thing just wouldn’t have panned out, because the series is dense mostly with intricacies and world building. And if you spend your time just waiting for the big reveal, it would be like listening to DubStep that waits forty-five minutes before getting to the drop. Why bother?

Big bad things happen in these stories. “Winter is coming.” But the dramatic tension exists not because readers don’t know what’s coming, but because they know, at least in a larger sense, what is coming. Readers know that things will fairly consistently turn for the worse, even when they seemed to be looking up, and the readers’ understanding makes every act of tenderness, loyalty, honor and decadence all the more meaningful. If winter were not coming, would readers even care?

The point being, even if you know everything about the various fates that befall the characters in the story, I would argue that the value of the story is not marginalized at all.

It feels to me like deciding not to go on a vacation unless everyone agrees not to tell you where you’re going. It’s the journey and the experience that are valuable. I know when I’m on a beach that I will soon have to return to Minnesota, that winter is waiting for me. If I didn’t know that, I wouldn’t spend all the time, energy and money to go to a beach in the first place. I would not appreciate the sun’s warmth, the calming susurration of the waves, the ridiculous cocktail umbrellas.

So, I’m now moving ever further into that crowd that is simply done with spoilers. I’m done worrying about them, and I’m increasingly done tiptoeing my way around every media conversation for fear that I will reveal something. At least when it comes to the way I consume media, I’m not longer going to worry if I find out the reveal. That’s not to say I can’t be thoughtful of others or that I will suddenly make an effort to spoil your fun just to prove a point. That’s just being a jerk.

It’s time for us to all just relax on the hyper-sensitivity for plot points. It’s honestly not doing us as media consumers any favors, and it’s subverting a lot of great conversation and discussion I wish we were having more often. Let yourself be spoiled here and there. Embrace it, and maybe you’ll realize that your shows, books and movies are just as good even when you know the destination.

Comments

I think the spoiler tag should be disabled in "spoiler" threads. If you enter into such a thread, you do so with the full understanding that everything is visible.

That is something I find irritating. Going through a spoiler thread and still having to make things visible.

For me, spoilers sometimes change the experience, but they rarely make it worse. In games that encourage you to tell your own story, like Mass Effect, knowing where things are going doesn't affect my enjoyment at all because it's about the choices I'm making, not the broad strokes of the plot that matter. For games that are primarily about discovery, it depends. Playing for the first time while aware of spoilers is a bit like replaying the game in that it makes it easier to look past certain things and focus on immediate details. In Gone Home, if I knew what happened to Sam at the outset I think I might have actually gotten more out of the story. Instead of rushing to find out what happened I'd be trying to discover how that happened.

In general, there are very few games I care about being spoiled. Gone Home was one (though in retrospect I'm not sure this actually mattered, as I said above), and... I can't actually think of another offhand. I'd generally much rather be a part of the dialog and be spoiled than go on blackout and experience the game in isolation.

I find the preoccupation with spoilers at all quite puzzling, tbh. I don't have conversations like this with my friends like, ever. It's just not a thing. We try not to be dicks to each other (so - no spoiling the end of Sixth Sense), but at the same time, we all allow for the possibility that everyone has different things that they consider spoilers.

So if a friend is blackouting himself for some reason, I respect that. I expect everyone who's his friend to also respect that. Violating that request shows a lack of respect for that person's choices; this could easily spill over into other areas of life, as this is a personality decision. Who knows what other choices this person would not respect? I would never maintain such a "friend." Such people do not find that they have an excess of friends, I find.

At the same time, we all understand that once you consume media, you want to talk about it with your friends. If you don't want to participate, go do something else somewhere else while we're talking. Asking everyone to abide by your peculiar demands against their wishes is unfair to all concerned.

I confess that I'm completely dumbfounded by the idea that someone would take a friend to a movie they've already watched and spoil the movie for that friend as that friend is watching. I can't understand why someone would go completely out of their way to do such a mean-spirited thing. What's the motive? Extreme narcissism? Excessive sadism?

My problem is when people make that desire the responsibility of everyone else instead of themselves. If you want to avoid spoilers, that’s fine, but it’s on you to limit yourself, not on everyone else around you to limit themselves.

Oh my God, THIS. So selfish. Thanks for putting it into words Elysium, I didn't know how to explain it myself.

Listen, I love the UFC fights and stuff, but I get them a day later. So when there's an event, I don't go online anywhere near anything sports related, because I don't want to know who won, and it's pretty awesome being surprised at the results. Couple of times the Google+ has spoiled it and ruined it for me, but I blame myself, not someone reporting on the result.

Once it's out there, it's fair game and it's one's responsibility to stay away from discussion online, and sorry but it's pretty lame going "OMG Spoooiileeeers!" if you enter some TV discussion when the finale just happened.

I mean, respect "No Spoilers!" places, that's cool, but if you see the ending of your favorite series on a random thread, that's on you...

edit: BTW I agree that study can't be right, it's awesome being surprised by something.

Mex wrote:
I mean, respect "No Spoilers!" places, that's cool, but if you see the ending of your favorite series on a random thread, that's on you...

To an extent. It would be kind of sh*tty to find out the ending to The Usual Suspects in the Video Game Deals thread.

That said, I think people discussing that a film has a twist or significant spoiler is itself a spoiler.

ccesarano wrote:
Mex wrote:
I mean, respect "No Spoilers!" places, that's cool, but if you see the ending of your favorite series on a random thread, that's on you...

To an extent. It would be kind of sh*tty to find out the ending to The Usual Suspects in the Video Game Deals thread.

That said, I think people discussing that a film has a twist or significant spoiler is itself a spoiler.


It may be kind of sh*tty for you, but It's damn near 20 years old. I'm all for respecting when people say they don't want something spoiled (in that if I'm about to reveal a spoiler to something, I'll ask whomever I'm talking to if they plan to see/read it and tailor my response accordingly), but there's a limitation.

I wonder, how does a group of people have a completely spoiler free discussion about any sort of media(movies, books, games, tv shows)?

Spoiler:
You can't?

As has been stated by many before anything could be a spoiler to someone, and what some people want to hear and not consider a spoiler can be very different than the next person. So how does one talk about anything without spoilers? I don't mean the tag because everything would be in a spoiler tag then.

I say this because many clearly want to have conversations about these things, what we think is great, bad and surprising. But how can we do have those conversations without actually talking about what we found to be great, bad and surprising?

See now Larryc, the two posts you made after my reply are perfect examples of how spoilers should be treated. If the person asks for the information, yes its totally cool! You didn't include that important part of the process in your original post. The person asked for the information, and that makes all the difference. I've had friends try to convince me about a book or movie and I have often asked them to tell me more info about it so that I can figure out if it would be a waste of my time. But that's me asking, not someone making that decision for me.

The movie "Hot tub time machine" is a perfect recent example of this. I needed a lot of convincing to watch that movie and after hearing a little bit about it I finally did watch it and it was so worth it.

And yes knocking someone unconscious and kicking them out the door was me being overly dramatic, but it got the point across that I would get pretty pissed off.

Yeah and that is why we have spoiler threads and nonspoiler threads. Elysium's article brought us all here stating our opinions. It is understandable that each of us feel that we ourselves are more right than the others. But we need to have some mutual respect and forgiveness cause we are a community and I do not think anyone here is really trying to be an asshole. We just see something differently. Neither way is right or wrong just personal preference.

I can't think of a good solution to help people from getting exposed to spoilers. The spoiler tags works only if you can understand just exactly what someone will consider a spoiler. An extra warning window maybe that pops up with that threads spoiler rules that has to be clicked to post for every comment?

Once it's out there, it's fair game and it's one's responsibility to stay away from discussion online, and sorry but it's pretty lame going "OMG Spoooiileeeers!" if you enter some TV discussion when the finale just happened.

I mean, respect "No Spoilers!" places, that's cool, but if you see the ending of your favorite series on a random thread, that's on you...

You'd think, but it happens here often in the non spoiler threads, and while most of the time it is an honest to god mistake, there have been a couple of non spoiler threads where the person causing the problem refuses to correct their behavior even though the rules of the thread were clearly stated at the beginning and several times later in the thread.

But your right, someone walking into a spoiler thread does so at their own risk and doesn't have a leg to stand on if they read something they wish they hadn't. Although people posting a spoiler about something else that has no bearing on the current topic is a total douche move. I've seen that happen on occasion as well.

ccesarano wrote:
The fact that this is practically a P&C discussion pretty much fuels my attitude that people take spoilers way too seriously.

I try to avoid them when I can, and I try to avoid spoiling anything when I can, but if you're response to being spoiled is genuine anger rather than "Oh damn, what an inconvenience" then you're taking it way too seriously.

And this is coming from someone that takes their love of entertainment way too seriously.

This.

I also don't understand how you can discuss a piece of media without spoiling something, which gets back to the point that what is a spoiler for you isn't necessarily one for me. So, even in non-spoiler threads, you could get spoiled. Isn't that on the person looking for information on the piece of media to stay out of that thread if they are that sensitive?

I always wanted to mess with people and tell them that Rosebud was a slut. Never did though.

Brizahd wrote:
The spoiler tags works only if you can understand just exactly what someone will consider a spoiler.

Totally disagree. Like I said in my previous post, if you're going to talk about anything specific that happens, spend the 2 seconds it takes to wrap your comment(s) with the spoiler tags.

And for the record, this is coming from someone who is not hardcore "anti-spoiler". I just strongly believe in courtesy for my fellow GWJers.

sheared wrote:
I think the spoiler tag should be disabled in "spoiler" threads.

Agreed. I've even made a point to ask why spoiler tags were being used in a spoiler thread before. (I believe it was the ME3 spoiler thread.) Just as plainly visible spoilers are an annoyance (or worse) in a non-spoiler thread, so are spoiler-tagged posts in a spoiler thread. It completely defeats the purpose of a spoiler thread.

After reading some of the stuff here I've been educated. My high horse? Shot and buried it. My soapbox? Kindling. My attitude? Adjusted.

I should not poo-poo what others consider important. I'd avoid spoilers in any type of conversation provided I knew others cared about such things. I don't think I'm going to add a spoiler-tag before starting a spoken conversation though.

What part of this article indicated it was relating directly to forum discussions? My assumption, until it was suggested otherwise, was that the GWJ collective is mostly respectful of people's desires regarding spoilers. Some people in this discussion seem to be using this as a platform for some kind of crusade against spoiler-free thread-abusers.

Regardless of my own perspective on spoilers, I both respect how others feel about them and do my damnedest to act on that respect. I think 99.9% of the GWJ community feels the same way.

Dakuna wrote:
What part of this article indicated it was relating directly to forum discussions? My assumption, until it was suggested otherwise, was that the GWJ collective is mostly respectful of people's desires regarding spoilers. Some people in this discussion seem to be using this as a platform for some kind of crusade against spoiler-free thread-abusers.

Regardless of my own perspective on spoilers, I both respect how others feel about them and do my damnedest to act on that respect. I think 99.9% of the GWJ community feels the same way.

This times x2.

Wr3nch wrote:
Spoiler:

Spoiler

....cool image....but....why is a reference to 300 in there? Is there anyone who wants to watch 300 and doesn't know it is a history film? Do those people want spoiler tags when discussing films set in WWII?

Spoiler:
The Allies win.

MeatMan wrote:
Brizahd wrote:
The spoiler tags works only if you can understand just exactly what someone will consider a spoiler.

Totally disagree. Like I said in my previous post, if you're going to talk about anything specific that happens, spend the 2 seconds it takes to wrap your comment(s) with the spoiler tags.

We've had people complain that revealing the name or mere existence of a character not yet introduced is a spoiler, so it's not always that simple.

I'm with Elysium. At this point I just don't care.

The issue that seems to be skipped over throughout this thread, that was actually central to Elysium's article, is that the scope of what is spoilers by many is too broad, and in effect, stifles reasonable discussion.

If you consider the short showing of scenes from next week and publicly released trailers as spoilers, then you need to avoid all online discussion of these TV shows and movies. If an actor is hired to play a part, and the network or studio releases that info, it is not a spoiler. These are the kinds of things that Elysium is talking about.

But further than that, a more mature view on media may find that occasionally watching a show that you have had plot points spoiled may reveal an interesting viewing experience that allows you to focus on the writing and acting that led to these spoiled scenes. I say occasional, because I don't think there is mass spoiling going on anywhere. I don't seek out spoilers, I just don't let them ruin my viewing experience when I do.

It was getting spoiled on scores for Kansas basketball that kind of opened my eyes. Sometimes I was only spoiled to a certain point in the game, and others the final score. But I started watching these games anyway, and I found that I really enjoyed watching how a game got to the point I knew was coming.

But I would never spoil the score of a game, and I never try to find the score before watching a game. It's that I have learned how to enjoy the game regardless.

I've watched a couple of seasons of Survivor with a full bootlist. I avoid them now, but again, even knowing who was going home in a particular episode I found a way to enjoy the process. I watch Big Brother fully spoiled, and find the regular episodes more interesting than not knowing.

But in the big picture, I find that, even with an accepting attitude in regard to spoilers, I get spoiled very, very infrequently. So when I do, I just roll with it and enjoy that particular piece of entertainment in a different way.

No one is suggesting that the CC scrap their spoiler sections and just air them in the main show. I still use spoiler tags where appropriate. I apologize and retag when I screw up. But I have found that I enjoyed for more media even more once I got over my insistence to never be spoiled. I appreciate Elysium passing on that point of view.

I have never once, that I recall, been glad a plot point was spoiled for me.

Been lurking in this thread since it started, time to come out of the woodwork.
My own stance on spoilers is a flexible one, at least it is now. I'm just not up to speed, I haven't been to a movie theater in two years, I don't buy games on day one, there's just too much and not enough time. That's why I listened to the Bioshock Infinite Spoiler section. Some things, however, I'm steering clear of. I haven't listened to the Brothers and Gone Home spoiler sections on the podcast. Even the Deus Ex: HR spoiler section is still untouched (I'll get around to it some day... eventually). But that's on me. I don't post nor read the threads when I want to avoid them, I steer clear.

When I do end up spoiler'ing myself, I won't moan about it. Current example: I'm finally picking up the last two books in the Wheel of Time series, Towers of Midnight and Memory of Light. Except it's been years since I last read the previous books, and my memory's fuzzy on a lot of characters, so I've been reading up on them in the wiki. Accidentally spoiled a couple of things about the Last Battle, whoops. Well, that's on me, and I'm still really enjoying the books. A plot point at the end of Martin's Dance with Dragons was spoiled for me in the thread on the books here on GWJ, but that's on me, I was reading and posting there. I knew what happened at the end of the first book, because I'd clicked on a freakin' spoiler tag. Again, on me.
But I do take care not to spoil stuff for other people. I was asking a fellow Twitterer how he was liking Walking Dead, and he responded by speaking of events in Chapter 3. Immediately cautioned him about spoilers, which he didn't understand, asking if I'd played it. Answered that I have, but was being mindful of others who might no have played it. Never got a reply. And that seems a bit selfish, because I know that he would've been irate had I spoiled chapters 4 & 5 for him.

Thankfully, as it's been mentioned before, the GWJ community has been pretty awesome in my own experience about using spoiler tags and sticking to the appropriate threads.

sheared wrote:
I'm curious -- how many people here who are very concerned about spoilers are parents?

This is so true, and I can't believe people haven't touched on this since Sheared mentioned it. The reason why I haven't been to the movie theaters in two years? Why my backlog is bloated beyond recognition? My son is 22 months old. Or that and Steam Sales with poor impulse control factored in. But yeah, being parent, working full-time, I just don't have as much free time as I used to, and I can't keep up anymore. How the parents on the Conference Call do it, I just don't know. (Although I do recall them saying that the early years were "the Dark Ages" for gaming, so hopefully it gets better - please don't take hope away from me).

Definitely loving the discussion this article has spawned, it's absolutely fascinating.

Sparhawk wrote:
sheared wrote:
Sparhawk wrote:
Had Baldur's Gate spoiled before I could touch it. Haven't touched it yet :(

What plot twist is there in Baldur's Gate?

That one party member betrays you in the end? I seemed like a big deal back then. I am going to play the game though. Especially with the new version out now.

I think you might be surprised if you're playing Baldur's Gate 1... This is not the plot twist you are looking for.

TheCounselor wrote:
Playing nearly every video game merely for the story is missing the point. If all you care about is the story, just watch the YouTube cutscenes.

People get so upset about what they think spoilers do that they miss the point of the product.

It really depends on why you play a video game. The biggest difference between video games and movies is you play the main character. You make the choices of the character. Your experiences are more personal. When you watch a movie, you are a spectator watching the events unfold before you. I feel that people playing story based video games as just a puzzle game is missing the point. Might as well play Tetris or something like TF2 where story is not the point.

I generally find plot and character twists to be cheap theatricality. I don't view works that rely on them for any significant amount of value as being very enjoyable in the long term. Their "replay value" is very limited. Then again, I do like Power Rangers, so what do I know?

Strangeblades wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
I care about spoilers. I delight in being surprised.
The attitude of "if the enjoyment of your product comes from a single thing than f**k off" is why I've basically stepped away from all gaming discussion on GWJ. I guess I took the advice to heart the last time we all had this discussion. I think it sucks that my preference for not having someone else decide what is or is not an appropriate amount to tell me about an experience, despite the built-in tag system that makes that decision unnecessary, simply drove me away.

I've corrected my previous post. I violated one of my Internet rules by writing something I would never say to anyone were I in their presence. Apologies.

*if you hear back-pedalling you're hearing it right*

And to clarify I was referring to the producers of said entertainment product relying on surprises and twists in order to sell it. I was not calling out endusers (us).

I think you and I stand in a similar place, StrangeGlades. I don't necessarily mind that the spectacle of surprising events is part of a creative work, but if that's the only thing that makes the work worthwhile, and the work falls apart other than that, then I'm not really interested in spending my time on it. I'd actually prefer someone to drag it out into the harsh light of day, and save me the time. I guess I'm pretty extremely uninterested in experiencing spectacle.

I thought about saying as much in a follow-on article to this one, but it would have, at best, been rehashing lots of media theory and Situationist stuff (particularly Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle), and I don't think I would have ultimately said anything more than the above paragraph.

LarryC wrote:
Classical works, especially, have a very high barrier of enjoyment. It's hard, these days, to find anyone willing to talk about the jocular humor of Austen, the sense of macabre that Bronte brings to her romances, or the view of Sherlock Holmes as an Action Hero.

Hey now, I thought that's why we loved the internet—because it lets us connect with our own particular strains of nerdery. If you want to talk about detective fiction's genre blending with action heroes, just send me a link to the appropriate thread!

LarryC wrote:

My impression of Hollywood fare is that it has become like a Noh play. Hollywood material has become so rote that it's become heavily codified (see TVTropes).

It's been said by a lot of very smart people that there are no new stories. Even all the possible combinations of the old stories seem to have been done. At best, there are new ways of telling versions of the old stories. I, of course, approve of this, as someone getting an advanced degree involving a thesis project on how games tell stories, and how we can analyze games' methods and affordances of storytelling.

Jayhawker wrote:
But further than that, a more mature view on media may find that occasionally watching a show that you have had plot points spoiled may reveal an interesting viewing experience that allows you to focus on the writing and acting that led to these spoiled scenes. I say occasional, because I don't think there is mass spoiling going on anywhere. I don't seek out spoilers, I just don't let them ruin my viewing experience when I do.

It was getting spoiled on scores for Kansas basketball that kind of opened my eyes. Sometimes I was only spoiled to a certain point in the game, and others the final score. But I started watching these games anyway, and I found that I really enjoyed watching how a game got to the point I knew was coming.

This is why I don't mind spoilers, especially when it comes to media where I have fairly deep knowledge of critical theory, or even a sport that I'm pretty versed in. Knowing what happens lets me concentrate on how it happens and how that's presented.

Frankly, as LarryC said, a lot of the time I have a pretty good guess of how things are going to turn out anyway, so I get to focus on the "how" even when things aren't spoiled for me. And for me, it's the "how" that's the interesting part.

sheared wrote:
I'm curious -- how many people here who are very concerned about spoilers are parents? My attitude about spoilers has changed significantly over the past 10 years. I moved from a person who regularly consumed media at the point of release (movies, games, books, etc.) to a person who is lucky to ever consume media in any reasonable amount of time.

Movies are watched when they come out on video. Games -- maybe a few years later after a Steam sell. TV is always some DVR'ed show. My life has changed so drastically as a result of the demands of raising kids, that my expectations of any type of surprise in entertainment is almost nill. And I don't seem to mind.

That may also be why I am so drawn to sports. It is the one thing I still get to collectively enjoy with the rest of the world. Unless I am at a birthday party... or a swim meet... or a play date at the park... or......

This.

There is much truth in this. I just don't have time to worry about spoilers. Life gets in the way.

mudbunny wrote:
I just don't have time to worry about spoilers. Life gets in the way.

I play videogames for, perhaps, 15-30 minutes/week. I have been playing them since the early 80s, and I still enjoy them, but I'm as busy as I've ever been with "life". There's no tension in being that engaged in non-recreational pursuits and not wanting my media experiences spoiled. If you're voluntarily posting on a gaming website, you have "enough time" (from a literal standpoint) to click "Spoiler". You're choosing not to because you don't see them as important.

I have no issue with folks not caring about spoilers. What I find frustrating is when a personal preference is cast in some patronizing form of judgment -- "oh, you care about that? I don't have time to worry about such petty things" -- and imposed on others. One of us has to be inconvenienced: either you have to click a button, or I have to either stop participating or have something I enjoy significantly diminished. Like most social situations where compromise is involved, the question becomes one of harm vs. effort.

As has been said in previous posts, there is an element of "you're doing it wrong" to the comments that argue that spoilers don't matter, as if the damage perceived was simply not real. That's really annoying, and leaves only one option if you care about not having your media experiences diminished beforehand.

I had heard once that someone complained over Twitter to Felicia Day that she spoiled an episode of Supernatural by announcing that she would be guest starring on it. I can't remember the who/when (not that it matters). That is taking the whole spoiler thing way too far. Expectation that The Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense will remain spoiled after a decade or more is silly. It has entered into pop culture.

I'd even go so far as to say that expectation to not know about (to be nice, I'll use spoilers) the existance of the

Spoiler:
The Red Wedding
in A Song of Ice and Fire is a bit absurd as the book is 13 years old now.

What is the statute of limitations on spoilers? Can someone reasonably expect to be able to watch The Empire Strikes Back or even Serenity without foreknowledge?

Nevin73 wrote:
What is the statute of limitations on spoilers? Can someone reasonably expect to be able to watch The Empire Strikes Back or even Serenity without foreknowledge?

IMAGE(http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/ten_thousand.png)

Go watch Game of Thrones reaction videos on youtube and tell me there's no value in not spoiling things. No, the shock isn't ultimately the thing that makes that series worthwhile, but the suspense of not knowing and the anticipation of finding out what's going to happen is a huge part of why the work leaves an impression.

mudbunny wrote:
sheared wrote:
I'm curious -- how many people here who are very concerned about spoilers are parents? My attitude about spoilers has changed significantly over the past 10 years. I moved from a person who regularly consumed media at the point of release (movies, games, books, etc.) to a person who is lucky to ever consume media in any reasonable amount of time.

Movies are watched when they come out on video. Games -- maybe a few years later after a Steam sell. TV is always some DVR'ed show. My life has changed so drastically as a result of the demands of raising kids, that my expectations of any type of surprise in entertainment is almost nill. And I don't seem to mind.

That may also be why I am so drawn to sports. It is the one thing I still get to collectively enjoy with the rest of the world. Unless I am at a birthday party... or a swim meet... or a play date at the park... or......

This.

There is much truth in this. I just don't have time to worry about spoilers. Life gets in the way.

I find the opposite. Because life does get in the way so much, when I do choose to invest in something, I want to make sure I get the most out of it. I started watching Game of Thrones, Series 1 this year... I know, well late to the party.

The thing is, someone made a throw away comment in another, completely unrelated thread, about series three... While I wasn't at the point of running my wrists under warm water in anticipation of the blade's sweet release, I have now stopped watching the series, long enough to 'forget' the comment, so I can start it up again, and hopefully not be so 'spoiled'.

And I'm going with the dictionary meaning of spoil here "to impair the value or quality of", not the OMGWTFBBQ! reaction that can sometimes happen in other online forums. I think that's key here, it doesn't necessarily destroy the experience, but it does impair it's value.