Spoiler etiquette

There are two annoying things about spoilers: spoilers, and people complaining about spoilers.

There’s really a few basic rules that should cover it:

  1. If you care to avoid spoilers, make an effort to see the thing as soon as you possibly can.
  2. If you want to talk about the thing you saw, disclose a spoiler alert before you go into it.

Give people fair warning, and it’s their fault if they read on. And if they don’t take it on themselves to see the thing in a reasonable amount of time, that’s their problem.

There will always be people who haven’t seen the thing yet. That doesn’t mean that the world should sit silently and not talk about the thing forever. How long should people wait before talking about the thing? I think it’s fair to talk about the thing immediately. But if you want to do it without being a jerk, check to make sure the people who can hear you care about spoilers, and then give them a chance to mute before you launch into them.

There’s also people who deliberately spoil in order to be a jerk. Right, these are the ones who aren’t talking about the thing because they are excited about the thing — they’re the ones who are looking for people who haven’t seen the thing yet so they can tell them about the thing and ruin the surprise and suspense that the creator of the thing invested in the experience of the thing. These people suck and deserve a good beating. Even though spoiling is not a crime, and beating people up is. The law kindof has it backwards on this.

In summary, the arts are to be enjoyed, and a huge part of enjoying them is talking about them. People should talk about them. They should be mindful of people who haven’t yet had the experience they’re about to talk about. They shouldn’t remain silent forever, but they should give people who care to avoid spoilers fair warning and an opportunity to bow out before gushing about the thing.

Updated: 2016-Mar-17 — 10:42 am

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