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Old 04-17-2006, 03:07 PM
Gentleman Loafer
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 461
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Spoilers and when to warn about them
So it seems like we have a debate about whether or not spoiler warnings in this forum are needed about once every other month. One side urges us to warn against ruining any surprises the movie has in store for us while the other side insists that we don't have to click on the thread if we don't want to.

The other side is, of course, wrong.

What happens if you want to read a thread to help decide whether or not you want to watch a movie, or if you're excited to see it but can't yet so you want to read what other people think. You should be able to do this without spoiling any potential enjoyment of your viewing experience.

There have been more than enough threads posted on here with *spoilers* in the title or at the head of individual posts to establish precedent. Typing the word "SPOILERS" just took me about a second. If you honestly don't care about giving away pertinent information about a film, think about the series of angry posts you will have to endure afterward instead.

Now that we have that established, you may be wondering what exactly constitutes a spoiler and when it's necessary to warn others.

I'll quickly define a spoiler as a piece of information that, knowing before learning within the context of the film, lessens any sort of surprise, twist, turn, climax, or character arc of a film. Any time you feel yourself about to type something that fits in this category, warn us.

Example: This movie is really great. Tom Cruise is so dreamy in it.

Non-Spoiler. Safe for everyone, even Scientologists.

Example: This movie is really great, even though the motel owner's mom is actually him in drag and i hate fags.

Spoiler! Knowing that Norman Bates cleans up after his own twisted murder rather than his homicidal mother's is a twist so big that it changed how people go to the movies forever! Knowing that ahead of time is just not cool.

So, now that you know what it is and when to use it, what's the "how"?

Well, there used to be a full-on spoiler tag that made the text the same color as the background, hence making it invisible unless you selected it. I'm not sure if/when that's on this incarnation of the site, but a safe alternative is the trusty all-caps *SPOILERS*, which you can put anywhere before your actual spoiler (NOTE: that's important. BEFORE the spoiler). If you've typed that, or any variant thereof ("spoilers ahead", "spoiilers - don't read", or even "Ahoy there be spoilers in this here paragraph" if you're not into the whole brevity thing), you're covered.

So, to sum up... it's OK to post about spoilers after you've seen a movie and want to talk about it, just warn those of us who haven't seen it yet beforehand. This applies to both threads and individual posts. Thanks!

The real question for debate is when is a movie old enough to not warrant spoiler tags. I would say, due to the international following on this site, that it should be at least a year past initial wide release.

example: Bruce Willis is a ghost.

OK now, not in 1999.