Spoilers: Where Is Your Line?
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Spoilers: Where Is Your Line?

By Genevieve Burgess | Comment Diversions | June 29, 2012 | Comments ()


Can we all have an honest discussion about spoilers without anyone yelling? Probably not. But let's try.

I'm asking half for my own purposes as a writer on this site and half out of a genuine curiosity. I won't go so far as to say that I'm spoiler-proof, because I have occasionally gotten annoyed when some major plot point or resolution was revealed before I could find it out myself, but I haven't ever had a "spoiler" actually SPOIL something for me. I've never understood the mindset that one's entire enjoyment of a book, movie, or television show rests entirely on just satisfying a deeply uncurious itch regarding what happens next. The set up, interactions, and minutia are as important if not more than what ends up happening, at least for me. And it must be true for others because when books are adapted into movies the fans of the book will generally show up even when they know what's going to happen. That said, it can be disappointing to find out important information in advance of actually seeing or reading something yourself. And if people want to drop references into casual conversation we have to kind of agree on lines, since the internet makes it harder to filter people that we interact with or the information we're exposed to.

So where do we draw the line? I mean, best practice is obviously to avoid spoiling anything, but there seems to be kind of a vast gray area of what's actually considered a spoiler. Let's use The Sixth Sense as an example here, because that movie's old enough that no one should get mad at me. Just in case you somehow haven't seen it, though, I am about to spoil the shit out of The Sixth Sense.

Clearly the knowledge that Bruce Willis is dead from the end of the first scene through the rest of the movie is a major spoiler as it will drastically alter your first viewing of the movie. BUT! What about the knowledge that Cole sees dead people? It's not the resolution of the movie, it's not the final twist, but it's a pretty integral piece of information, and when it's revealed in the film it is played as a bit of a shock and a payoff from some confusing scenes. Knowing that going in will cause you to view part of the movie differently, but most of the movie will stay the same since you gain the knowledge in the first half of the film. Are they both spoilers? Is one a spoiler and one kind of a "Come on, now" thing?

Beyond that, I know people who specifically DO want certain information spoiled for them to help them decide if they want to see or read whatever for themselves. A big one around these parts is the death of animals, especially dogs. If a dog dies, y'all want to know even if it "spoils" part of the movie. So, what's your line on that? Is it better to be aware of potentially traumatizing information even if it spoils the plot?

And then there's the tricky issue of WHEN spoilers become fair game because there seems to be a social consensus that they do after a certain length of time. Otherwise those "I am your father" jokes based off The Empire Strikes Back would be met with outrage rather than eye-rolls. For this one I believe the medium matters more than anything else. In my own mind, books get a one-year grace period, and even then I do my best to make sure people have read the book in question before talking to them about it. Movies get until the DVD's been released, and for television I'm pretty brutal and say that everything's fair game two days after air date to allow for DVR viewers. I'm probably going to get yelled at for that last one, but honestly I find it a bit silly to expect everyone to avoid mentioning anything to do with a show because one day you might start watching it. Unless it's premium cable; then, discretion is best because not everyone can afford premium cable.

This is complicated, isn't it?

The more I write about this and think it through the more I'm thinking that there's not going to be a way to set hard and fast rules that make everyone happy. Best practice is to not be a dick and to stop yourself from spreading spoilery information far and wide on social media and to keep conversations to people you know are up to date with you. But it's also best practice to not start screaming "spoiler!" when someone mentions a detail of a show, movie, or book that's been out for a while or that has no significant bearing on the actual events. It's going to require trust, respect, humility, and patience. God knows those are all traits that frequent users of the internet are well known for.

So what's your line? And please, no spoilers.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • I absolutely HATE spoilers! I don't know, there's just something about coming into something with no knowledge of the plot that makes it that much better for me. I was spoiled for a big plot point of BtVS and one for BSG and I really wish I hadn't known those things ahead of time.
    That being said, I don't think it's anyone else's responsibility to make sure that I don't get spoiled. If I don't want to be spoiled about something, I take care not to be in places where that might happen (online). I mean, sometimes it's unavoidable, like someone posting a status or something and while people are free to post whatever they want, I do think that's kind of a dick move (unless it's something that has been out forever - and how long "forever" is, I don't have an exact measurement but it's like your Sixth Sense example: I've never seen that movie and I still knew that lol).

  • sohindar

    I'm passionate about avoiding spoilers because it takes something away from you that you can never get back - that first moment when you see - in context - an amazing event or revelation. If you've skipped
    ahead and already seen that scene*, or had the film spoiled for you you can never have that naive moment of experience, you can never be fooled by the clever misdirection, it's always going to be different for you.
    I'm incredibly grateful to my old friend who ridiculed so effectively my suggestion that Bruce Willis was dead that I dropped the idea entirely and didn't remember it until moments after the reveal,
    which allowed me to watch the film with an ingenue eye and be surprised and pleased by the twist.
    You never lose anything by avoiding spoilers, you can always watch it or read it again and see what it's like with foreknowledge, spot the foreshadowing and inevitable flow of the story - but you only get
    once chance to see it for the first time.
    Also, like Yossarian says about Ghost Protocol, if I know that an event is coming, and some of the details about it, I'm constantly distracted by details that seem to be setting it up, predicting events that
    will move them from their stated destination to where I know they will have to arrive, and I'm unwillingly more aware of the artifice of the film.
    It's why I couldn't even enjoy Avatar for what it was - even though it hadn't been spoiled for me every single plot point was so predictable and visibly inevitable that I spent the whole film waiting
    impatiently for them to move on to the next bit they'd been flagging up for ages. And I couldn't for a moment forget that it was an film, they might as well have had Barristas waving chalk boards in every scene that read "THIS IS A FILM" and "SCENE 7: HE IS

  • Nadine

    Personally I'm not that averse to spoilers. Sometimes I find that knowing something is going to happen makes, for me, the pay off that much bigger. Like, I know to expect an actors greatest moment in the film and don't miss it because other stuff is happening in the scene, or something.

    Sometimes I try to avoid spoilers, depending on the thing, book, movie, tv show etc but personally, if I haven't seen a film that's in the cinema that has been out for say, a month??? I don't believe i'm spoiled if someone tells me the end.

    In a few cases I'll really want to see a film fresh and if I do I just avoid the right sites or cut people off when I think they might be about to ruin it, but it's rare because ultimately it doesn't actually matter.

    With TV and stuff it's a little different because TV channels aren't as accessible as cinemas different but even then, I personally think that after a few weeks you have to shut up and sit down and either find a way to watch the damn thing or just accept you're gonna know what's happened in advance. That's me, though, I know people who kill over spoilers.

  • duckandcover

    I'm not necessarily one who cares about spoilers. I knew Snape was going to kill Dumbledore long before I ever got to the book. I knew Ned Stark was going to be decapitated before I got to that book. The part I enjoy the most is getting to that point. How was Dumbledore's death and Ned's death going to be portrayed? That's the best part of the books.

    However, I will admit that I flipped my shit on someone who spoiled The Avengers for me two days after it came out. I posted a status update about how the only thing that used to be after a movie was the theater dude giving you stinkeye for not picking up your trash. A friend messaged me on FB, blatantly spoiling the movie for me with "I left after they showed Darkseid. What else happened?" It was so stupid and an obvious attempt to ruin my future moviegoing experience -- and, as I later learned, completely wrong -- that I threw my laidback attitude about spoilers straight out the window and tore him a new butthole. People like that anger me. -.-;

  • Gregory Allen

    My friend was so bad about spoilers. He had good taste in geek stuff, so I usually asked him for recommendations for games/movies/shows. The thing is, he would describe twists in excrutiating detail even when told to shut up. He just didn't realize that a twist or major plot point or something carries less weight if you know it's coming. To him, he saw and experienced it, so it was intrinsically awesome. Thanks to his spoilers:

    -I never watched Sixth Sense
    -Never played Eternal Darkness (due to him ruining the plot and the "insanity effects"
    -Never finished Trigun
    -Never watched Donnie Darko
    -Never read Tale of Two Cities

    ... and many others.

  • Winky

    I've had movies spoiled for me before, and people who do tend to be the "Spoilers" are on the dumber side of the equation. I mean this for the "BLAH BLAH BLAH" type people who have trouble thinking before they speak. "So he was dead the whole time, it was really dumb" These people also like to give you a complete rundown on the entire plot, and it can mar the viewing experience for me when plot points are revealed and I flash back to being told it would happen by Joe Joe in the cantina.

    I like to be enigmatic while also expressing my opinion on the overall quality of a movie or show, thus avoiding most spoiler moments. How I would describe 6th sense is that it was a movie about a kid with supernatural elements, and that it could be scary (as a disclaimer for grandma or a ten year old). As reviews go, I think people who are reading a full review expect a certain amount of plot and narrative to be revealed so they can get a tug on the movie's udders, so to speak. I would not be upset to read a review about 6th sense that revealed the "I can see dead people" and some of the plot and character dynamics, but I would be annoyed if it revealed the twist. People reading about a TV show should just accept spoilers as par for the course, nobody needs show by show "reviews".

  • Clancys_Daddy

    Wait, Willis was dead! you bastard!!!

    Nah just fucking with you. I hated that stupid movie.

  • CurlyGirl

    *did not

  • CurlyGirl

    I appreciate hearing things similar to the "dog dying" type of spoiler when it comes to violent rape scenes. No personal connection, I just don't like to watch that kind of thing which is why I did see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo after reading the review on Pajiba.

  • Mr F

    Yep, sometimes a trigger warning is more than just a courtesy.

  • Mr_Zito

    I think as a writer you have to leave as much as you can for the reader to decide. That goes for not saying too much in a headline. There's also no expiration date on spoilers, just because the last episode of Mad Men has already aired, it doesn't mean you can spoil something in a headline like someone did here a few weeks ago. And you still shouldn't say if some character in Sixth Sense is actually a ghost or which characters of The Wire get killed, unless you've established as a post that will feature spoilers about those films or shows.

    There are some films or TV shows of which I don't wanna know anything before I watch it,
    if I get to see a movie without even knowing the cast, that's perfect. And if there's a movie I already know I wanna see, I don't need to see trailers, I don't need to know anything about the plot, and I'm gonna try as hard as I can to get in the theater without knowing anything, so I won't read news about it and I expect not to stumble upon news about it in posts about other things. Anything you tell me about Dark Knight Rises will spoil something for me. Even the earliest most meaningless scene can be special do find out for the first time while watching the film.

    Now, if I'm hearing about a movie for the first time, and wanna know something so that I can decide whether I watch it or not, I will be willing to know a little more, and then the rule is the general not-saying-too-much, not telling how it ends or the obviously important surprises.

  • Adrien

    The Asian promo poster for Fight Club kinda revealed the twist. Edward Norton's reflection was Brad's.

  • TC

    The only movie I've ever watched that I think would have genuinely been spoiled for me, had I known what would happen, was Dear Zachary.
    I knew *something* was going to happen going in, but people were cognizant enough of how it would ruin the film that they kept actual info pretty locked down. I'm grateful for that. In that one instance, it really would have changed how I watched the film. And I doubt I'll ever watch it again, so that first time really was important.

  • GunNut2600

    Here is my rule of thumb...once a film is out of theaters, meaning available on TV or DVD, I think its insane to expect folks not to ever mention a film in your presences. Its truly annoying at say a party, some a-hole is participating or hanging around a discussion about a film or book and they don't even tell anyone about their status as a moron...er I mean spoiler issue and then make a big fucking deal.

    Books to me are different. Its a much more time and emotional investment involved to consume a book than a film. Since the average American has utter shit in tastes in books, I rarely run into this problem.

    As for shows, once it airs, fuck off. The world doesn't have to come to a stop just because you are a pretentious douche.

    This discussion sort of leans to the big problem I have with society today. Its frustrating to see how many people seem to think that society must conform to their wishes. Like no one is supposed to ever be offended or some shit.

  • Steef McQueef

    Twists are nice, but generally I prefer the journey to the surprise, so spoilers don't bother me unless they are integral to the enjoyment of the story
    Saying that, it's hard to control the urge to discuss the specifics of something I enjoy (game of thrones threads a prime example). I try as a matter of respect, but it's not always easy.

  • therealbeesknees

    I'm hugely spoiler averse. I should preface all of this by saying that I don't actually own a television, so all of my media is consumed at least a few days after the fact... if not months after...
    I'm glad I've never really planned on watching Lost, because I'd managed to avoid most of the spoiling on the internet, then some complete Bitchtard behind me on a plane not too long ago blurted out the complete ending to it LOUDLY...about 30 seconds before spoiling the shit out of a movie I had thankfully already seen. Cause that's how morons roll. Half the fucking plane must have heard her.
    And yes, I've had my enjoyment of movies/shows ruined by shit like that. A friend of a friend completely let fly with the huge game-changing ending to a season of television (to a pay channel...less than a week after it aired...that she knew I hadn't seen... since we watch it together) and I could have punched her. I spent the hour watching just waiting for "it" to happen and was completely unable to enjoy anything leading to it.
    I don't watch previews, I avoid internet discussion until I've seen something - but they still slip through. If anything, it forces me to watch/read things long before I really want to, only to avoid getting spoiled before I have a chance (read: Lost). I HATE being spoiled. To me it's consuming a piece of art contrary to the way it was meant to be enjoyed. And damn it, I don't enjoy it. If that's how you like it, fine, just don't go fucking up my enjoyment too!

  • If I'm interested in a movie I avoid all spoilers. Same with books. I'm less concerned with videogame spoilers, but I have avoided ME3's ending discussion because I haven't beaten it yet. If a movie has been out on DVD for a month I say it's fair game. There is a lot of stuff I wait to see until it comes to DVD. As for TV episodes, that one is trickier. Any major holy shit moments should be kept quiet I think and not blurted on Twitter or Facebook. But that goes for any spoilers. My 10 year old came home from seeing X3: The Last Stand with his grandfather (at the time I didn't know it was godawful and still wanted to see it) and said "Hi Dad! The movie was good, but I can't believe they killed Cyclops!" I almost smacked the little shit.

  • space_oddity

    See I saw that movie, and have no recollection of Cyclops dying. I think I'm supressing the trauma of the experience.

  • I tried shock therapy to suppress it. Didn't work.

  • Yossarian

    First of all, it depends on the thing being spoiled. I consume a lot of art/ culture/ media/ entertainment. And I enjoy the internet coverage and critical discussions about these things almost as much as I enjoy the things themselves (in some cases more). Usually I don't mind knowing something about the work before I consume it (if I consume it at all).

    But it is different with the really good stuff. The really good stuff is still rare enough that it warrants special care. If I'm really looking forward to something and if I think it has potential to be one of the best films/ books/ movies of the year I am going to make it a point to avoid the conversation so I don't spoil the experience of enjoying it for the first time.

    And for me it's not just about the big twists and surprise endings. I want to know as little as possible going into the theater. Because anything that gets into my head before the show is going to color my experience of watching it. The whole time I'm watching Ghost Protocol my mind is projecting forward "ok, so we have to go to Dubai soon because he has to scale that building. Oh, that's where the meet is? Ok, so somethings going to go wrong and he's going to end up outside. Ah, there it is. The building climb."

    Now, I really don't care about MI:GP being colored by that inner monologue. But The Master? Dark Knight Rises? Django Unchained? I don't want to be sitting in the theater wondering how that one scene Ebert mentioned in his review is going to fit in later on. I don't want to know that there is an explosion on the boat because of something in the trailer. I don't want to be in the middle of a movie wondering about why Dan Carlson felt the ending was unsatisfying. I just want to watch the move free from outside information.

    That means I avoid reviews, trailers, and anything else. I decide how much hype and speculation I want to expose myself to. Sometimes I read the first paragraph or two of the Pajiba review and close the tab when it starts getting too revealing. But it's not your job to cater to my sensitivity for spoilers. As long as spoilers and plot details are revealed in context (not headlines, header photos, tweets, etc) I have no problem with it. And I a really appreciate the people who say "The less you know about Midnight In Paris or Cabin in the Woods the better, just see it, trust me." Because if I do trust them I'll stop right there and tune out the discussions until I've seen it.

  • Poopy Pantaloons

    Wow, what a complete and utter pile of shit that is.

    So you and you alone are the sole arbiter of what constitutes 'the good stuff.







  • bbmcrae

    Wow. An angry, immature person on the internet blowing a civil discussion into an public exhibition of their personal failings. Huh. Neat.

  • Yossarian

    Are you high on drugs?

    I am the arbiter of what constitutes the good stuff to me. That's how subjectivity works. The comment articulates how I feel about advance knowledge of plot and story elements. You might have picked up on the heavy use of first person? And while it invites the reader to consider and sympathize with my point of view it does not take an authoritative tone.

    This is basic reading comprehension, Pantaloons. I'm honestly curious and a little alarmed at how you must perceive the world around you if that comment touched off such an emotional reaction. Was it just the presence of so many words all together that made you angry? Did you stop reading and go straight to expletives and all caps single word sentences? Are you even reading this still?

    Be well my angry friend. May you find the peace in life that you could not find on the internet.

  • therealbeesknees

    So, that's what I was trying to say but, again, you're much more eloquent.

  • special snowflake

    Yossarian, your comments made each successive paragraph of yours more fun to read than the next! I can be a lot like you, up until the movie reviews, which more often than not are THE deciding factor in my seeing it or not.
    But some, like 'Sixth Sense', or 'Shawshank'.. I would have been mighty pissed to have had some major spoilage shoved at me when those two first came out.

  • David Sorenson

    I have no line when it comes to spoilers. Partially because I'm insanely curious and partially because I'm more about the journey than the destination.

    Also in the case of newly released films, knowing the twist will allow me to enjoy the work put into the buildup without having to pay a second time or wait for dvd release.

  • faintingviolet

    Spoilers are dangerous business. I treat all books as spoiler free zones, which can make trying to review them for Cannonball Read a bit of a nightmare (how to talk plot without giving away too much...). Basically, I ask everyone if they've read a book or plan on reading it before I launch into a discussion.

    Movies are different, at least to me. There are the minor spoilers (the brat sees dead people) and the major ones (dude's dead). Minor ones tell you about the type of film you're getting into, while major ones are the big set pieces. However, I don't always think that DVD release is a fair timeline, since its getting shorter and shorter. In a perfect world I'd get a year.

    I know, I KNOW. But I'm just that kind of person (I enjoy my entertainment linearly). Spoilers have never ruined a book or movie or even T.V. show for me, but they can lessen the experience greatly.

  • seanfast

    I had a friend think I "spoiled" part of the movie Prometheus for him by mentioning that David (Fassbender) is an android. I figured it was in all the trailers and pushed as part of the marketing material (especially by Verizon to sell their "droid" phones) that it was common knowledge. We had a lengthy debate over whether it was in fact a spoiler or not.

    He lost.

  • BWeaves

    I'm the type of person who reads the last page of a novel first. Then I go back and read the entire last chapter. Then I start at the beginning to see how the story gets there. Drives my husband nuts, but I'm careful never to give him any spoilers if I read something first. I feel it's not whether the hero wins or loses, but how the game is played.

    I think there's a huge difference between someone who accidentally gives something away while gushing about their latest favorite vs. the vile idiot who walks through the bookstore at midnight yelling "Harry DIES!" at the little kids clutching their newly minted Harry Potter #7. Luckily, JR Rowling got around this by having SPOILERS Harry die and come back to life END SPOILERS.

    As far as The Sixth Sense is concerned, I knew there was supposed to be a twist. Nobody told me what it was. I watched the movie and figured out in the first 10 minutes that Bruce Willis was dead, because it was so obvious to me (shut up, just deal with it a moment). I was immensely disappointed at the end when there was no twist. In a way, the fact that people kept saying "THERE'S A TWIST!" ruined it for me worse than people not saying anything, because there was a build up of expectation and then a let down.

    Anyway, I don't mind spoilers. I like them actually. I seek out plot info on the internet to see if I even want to see the movie or read the book. If I don't want spoilers, then I just avoid reading about said movie or book on the internet. I enjoy reading the Game of Thrones entries here on Pajiba, but I won't watch them until they come out on DVD, but I'm excited to see it all played out. And because of the comments, I know to look for certain things I might have glossed over.

  • Carrie

    Wow. Thanks for ruining Harry Potter for me, Bweaves. Did you miss the line in which the author of this article wrote, "And please, no spoilers." ?

  • special snowflake

    "the fact that people kept saying "THERE'S A TWIST!" ruined it for me worse than people not saying anything, because there was a build up of expectation and then a let down."
    And it's because of insightful comments like BWeaves' here on this site that I so enjoy these diversions: good point, B- or, better yet, "think piece."

  • Threenineteen

    The whole The Sixth Sense twist thing ruined the movie for me in a different way. I didn't figure out that Willis was dead, but it didn't seem to me to be that big a deal. I thought "He's dead, huh? Interesting." And then the movie ended. I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if I wasn't waiting for the big twist that (for me) never came

  • competitivenonfiction

    When it comes to someone spoiling something for me, I don't usually get too fussed unless it was something I was really looking forward to. I re-read the Harry Potter books, and re-watch Buffy because I love the stories and the characters, not because I have a very specific type of amnesia.

    If you're going to get all crazy about spoilers, you need to make a reasonable effort to keep up. You can't both take the risk of waiting for something to come out on DVD and then demand that everyone be quiet about it while you get around to ordering a copy on amazon. I'll make a reasonable effort not to spoil things for you if you make a reasonable effort to keep up to the show or book release.

  • MonkeyHateClean

    The premium cable thing is a drag; I recognize there are some people who do not have it by choice or by necessity but I'm not waiting until a show that's aired on HBO is released on your preferred viewing platform to discuss it. This happened recently when a group of my friends were talking about the finale of GoT and one person spazzed out that the DVDs hadn't been released yet and we are all deemed big fat meanies for spoiling it for him. (Apparently walking away from the conversation wasn't an option...)

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Of course that wasn't an option, you big silly.

  • alex1alex2alex3

    The only real spoilers that bother me are when people reveal the winner or loser of one of the random silly reality shows I watch. I usually DVR that stuff, and while I get around to watching it by the next day, I have to be very careful. You have to stay off the show's website, avoid morning talkshows, etc.Facebook is the worst offender. Literally as the show is happening people will post "OMFG SOOOO GLAD (contestant) JUST WONNN!"

    Makes me wanna kill a b**ch.

  • space_oddity

    And I will absolutely agree with you there. With reality competitions, knowing who won does kinda ruin it. Cause, really, what's the point otherwise. I don't watch anything at it's airing time, really, but things like Top Chef, I make an effort to watch as soon as I can afterwards.

  • erich

    Bruce Willis is dead?

    Dammit! I was finally going to watch that movie tonight! Thanks for spoiling it for me, jerk!

  • Adrien

    Gwyneth's head is what's in the box.

  • Jezzer

    Thelma and Louise drive off a cliff and die on their own terms.

  • David Sorenson

    On the other hand, the car wasn't exactly pleased with their terms.

  • eeeeee

    Jesus has risen!

  • David Sorenson

    In the new Michael Bay movie, things blow up. Lots of things. Also cleavage.

  • David Sorenson

    The Titanic sinks.

  • Jerce

    Romeo and Juliet BOTH die.

  • dahlia6

    Rosebud is the sled ;)

  • googergieger

    Depends really. If the story is basically nothing but the ending, then I'll get annoyed at spoilers. If the story has a lot of other things going for it, I won't get mad. Then again it isn't that hard to avoid spoilers. You can usually tell with thread titles/article titles/etc if something is going to be said, you don't want to read. Kind of like my druggy friend. Can I actually get mad at him if he disappoints me by not showing up somewhere he said he was going to be? Not really, as I shouldn't have expected that in the first place. Kind of a fool me once sort of thing, I reckon.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I've seen a poster guessing at what *might* happen in a season that hadn't been aired yet and someone screamed that it was a spoiler. People are generally idiots that can't be appeased no matter how much you try.

  • jmd

    I usually don't care too much about spoilers. I like to go back and rewatch or re read things with the end in mind sometimes so I can see clues or foreshadowing.

    I would suggest for TV shows that aren't necessarily being reviewed for the site that you wait a week. Most websites for shows will put up the previous episode within 7 days or so. Not everyone DVRs stuff, and not everyone can watch their DVR within 2 days of the show - some save them up for weekends or other nights when there isn't anything else on.

  • Javier

    I would like to add to your spoiler guideline about tv shows (at least certain older ones) to do like the book one, make sure the person is watching it.

    We can all talk about now that *spoiler* Ned got beheaded at the end of season 1 of GoT...If someone hasn't watched the series, their at their own risk, but if someone says "yeah, I just started watching it" spoiling it would be sort of tactless.

    but like @2cc556ae0b20771cd67cbd5b645536f3:disqus said, a good story is great regardless of spoilers...I had DVR'd Ned's beheading episode but accidently saw a picture of his head on a stick before seeing it...I still enjoyed the episode and was still outraged by the scene, it would've been cool to have it surprise me but the engaging story let me bypass the reveal

  • Mr F

    I completely agree. I recently watched Battlestar Galactica for the first time and everyone I know who had already watched it was careful not to spoil anything for me because, even though it had finished years ago, they knew how important not knowing everything is to the appreciation of the show.

    But I *told* them I was watching for the first time straight up. I didn't just sort of mention it and wait for them to accidentally spoil something, which I think a lot of the time people (unintentionally or not) put others in the position to do by not letting them know it's their first viewing/reading.

  • seannyd

    Personally, I'd prefer to know as little as possible about something I'm interested in seeing before I see it. Like The Dark Knight Rises, I watched the first trailer and that's it. I've been on lockdown over everything else. Same thing with The Amazing Spider-Man. Just don't want to see little pieces of information out of context. I guess that's my problem with spoilers. There's no context to them. Or if you do know them, the "surprise" is gone. I can't imagine how I would have felt at the end of Breaking Bad last season if someone would have told me before hand what the final fate of Gus Fring was going to be, or Walter's ultimate betrayal. It just colors your perception of everything you're watching if you know before hand.

    That being said, I love watching things over again knowing everything that happened. To me, it's like putting a puzzle together, and then watching it again is like knowing how all the pieces fit together and marveling in the way it was constructed.

    That doesn't really answer the question, so for me, a spoiler is anything that discusses a major plot point that's unavoidable. Ideally, everyone would have gone in to see Terminator 2 thinking that Arnold was out to murder again, and then it would have been an incredible surprise once you found out he was a good guy, because that's how it's played the entire first act. The problem is that marketing gets in the way and lets everyone know.

    I guess I'll revise my statement and say that with movies, anything in the first act is not a spoiler. It's set up. Books or TV? I have no idea.

  • space_oddity

    See, I have yet to watch season 4 of Breaking Bad, but I know how it ends just from osmosis online. And I don't mind, cause I think it'll be still awesome and honestly, who didn't see that coming at some point, eventually, from way on out.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Honestly, most of the time I've had things "spoiled" it doesn't really affect my enjoyment all that much. It sometimes makes it easier, or better watching then if it hadn't been spoiled, because you KNOW those things are coming and you're watching more intently to catch the foreshadowing, for example (and you can better plan your pee breaks).
    That's not to say that I don't enjoy a surprise, but I'm not going to refuse to watch a work that's been "spoiled".

  • Other Brian

    I bet David Wong has an opinion about this...

  • DenG

    All I know is that I'm glad I didn't know beforehand that "Dil" in The Crying Game wasn't female. I loved the surprise.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Yeah, that was my first thought as well but someone had already told me about it by the time I finally saw the movie. Still shocked me though, I wasn't expecting full frontal.

  • Jezzer

    I think your spoiler guidelines are spot-on and would like to add that video games have become very story-intensive and deserve the same amount of attention to spoilers.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    In this day any commercials, trailers, or other advertising of movies and tv automatically spoil the subject (albeit to different degrees). They have to in order to get the majority of people with the attention span of a newt to watch the film or program. "Look at our twist!" is the new "What will happen?". Because of this I really don't get to upset about spoilerage. If I don't want it to be spoilered, I'll avoid the topic completely.

    The exception is books because there is very little direct marketing of books.

  • JenVegas

    Regarding the Sixth Sense, the phrase "I see dead people" was used in the marketing so I guess if it is a *spoiler* then the film company spoiled it themselves. Right now my threshold for spoilers is pretty high. I never get a chance to see movies any more. Most of the time I WANT to know what the big reveal is because I'll either a) never see the film but still want to be able to participate in pop-culture discussions or b) will forget by the time it's available on dvd/cable.

  • Nimue

    I think it really depends. I remember back in junior high having someone spoil Scream, like the weekend after came out by naming who the killer was. Now, that totally sucked. I have a friend who knew I was catching up on Dr. Who and deliberately send me spoilers, and that was pretty asshole-y. But, aside from a few vague mentions the next day of a show before I have gotten to see it, most spoilers I have found on my own. By reading about a show I haven't seen or something. And then, I only have myself to blame.

  • KV

    A great book/movie/play/opera is great, regardless of being "spoiled" or not. I don't draw any line for spoilers.

  • sarah

    I hate surprises and really prefer to be spoiled. I'll read the last chapter of a book to find out who did it before I get halfway through the rest of the book. The "huge twists" in movies, I prefer to hear about before seeing. I'm strange like that though.

  • pxilated

    It's definitely not just you. Each time I finished a chapter in the Song of Ice and Fire series that ended with a character in some kind of ambiguous life or death situation, I'd flip ahead to see if they had other chapters so I could relax and keep reading.

  • space_oddity

    No, you aren't strange. With books, in particular, I'll always flip to the end after I've read a bit, or skip around here and there. I can't ever seem to consume them linearly. I don't mind being spoiled about things either. Generally, if all that's interesting about something is the surprise, then I'd rather not bother. Spoilage has never prevented me from enjoying something if it's good. And honestly, with books, sometimes I really really need to see if something is resolved later on, rather than wait for the author to dole it out.
    On the other hand, I get that some people really really don't like it and that it can ruin the experience for them. So I try (not always successfully) to refrain.

  • Jenne Frisby

    Ha! I do this as well. Often when I am picking out a new book, I'll just read the last page really quickly and then a few in the middle, and then the first one, and usually that gives me a good idea about whether or not I'll like it. With TV shows, it depends how invested I am in the characters. I watch Revenge online, so I'd always read the recaplet on TWoP before watching the episode because I'd be too worried about Nolan otherwise. Usually though, I don't really seek out spoilers, but I don't mind if they find me.

    Having said all of that, I do like to be surprised *sometimes*.
    One of the few times a spoiler ever ruined anything for me was when someone told me about a death in the early middle of the Harry Potter series. I stopped reading the books, and never saw any more of the movies or thought too much about them.

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