Cyngr bs ornaf December 25, 2009 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Pony Request: So, it's been discussed before, but could we have some support for discussing spoilers in threads such as this one? Like maybe a tag for rendering text invisible until selection, or built in ROT 13 support or somesuch?
posted by Artw to Feature Requests at 4:00 PM (102 comments total)

Our take, whenever this has come up before, basically boils down to this:

- Metafilter is a generalist site, not dedicated specifically or primarly to spoiler-sensitive discussion of narrative works, so building in a UI feature specifically for the purpose of spoiler management seems like overkill;

- It's polite for folks to be mindful of spoilers when discussing something relatively recent and to avoid spoiling obnoxiously;

- Disclosing spoilers above the fold for relatively recent releases is enough of a sucky thing, whether intentional or otherwise, that we will generally step in as mods to make an edit to a post to move the spoiler inside;

- Discussing spoilers within a thread that is clearly about the work being discussed falls pretty cleanly within the bounds of Things Folks Worried About Spoilers Should Expect.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:09 PM on December 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter is a generalist site, not dedicated specifically or primarly to spoiler-sensitive discussion of narrative works, so building in a UI feature specifically for the purpose of spoiler management seems like overkill;

A fair point. The extra tag would seem to go against the aesthetic of the site. Rot 13 is purely text and seems like it would fit in more, but even though I'm suggesting it I'm not sure what kind of UI for it you could have that wouldn;t overcomplicate things badly.

I'm wondeirng... even if its not built into the site could we encourage a culture of rot 13ing more glaring spoilers? Would asking mods to ROt13 anything too spoilerish work if it is spotted in-thread, or is that too much like disemvowelling? Could we politely point people at the tools for it when subjects likely to be spoilery come up?
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on December 25, 2009


Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a pony from a farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the pony the next day. The next day the farmer drove up and said, 'Sorry Chuck, but I have some bad news, the pony died.'

Chuck replied, 'Well, then just give me my money back.'

The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already.'

Chuck said, 'OK, then, just bring me the dead pony.'

The farmer asked, 'What ya gonna do with a dead pony?'

Chuck said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'

The farmer said 'You can't raffle off a dead pony!'

Chuck said, 'Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, 'What happened with that dead pony?'

Chuck said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898.00.'

The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'

Chuck said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.
posted by netbros at 4:20 PM on December 25, 2009 [36 favorites]


Is this something that was really necessary to deal with on Christmas?

/don't celebrate Christmas, just drunk.
posted by inigo2 at 4:24 PM on December 25, 2009


Would asking mods to ROt13 anything too spoilerish work if it is spotted in-thread, or is that too much like disemvowelling?

I'm of pretty mixed feelings about the idea of introducing rot13 as a common thing into a generalist conversation site, but I can tell you for sure I'm not personally going to do any post hoc munging like that, no. Not quite like disemvoweling (motive and purpose are different), but, yeah, the effect of making the site a crappier read in service of some other goal is the same.

Could we politely point people at the tools for it when subjects likely to be spoilery come up?

I don't mind people politely pointing other people to etiquette and tools, necessarily. I think etiquette is the more important and more viable of the two. But honestly I suspect that my position on whether there is a violation of etiquette involved is going to be different in a lot of borderline cases than that of folks angling for a more formalized procedure for trading in spoilers and spoiler protection.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:32 PM on December 25, 2009


Explanation of ROT 13 for others like me who didn't know exactly what it is.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:57 PM on December 25, 2009


I sort of view it like the NSFW stuff. It would be nice if people would be slightly overcautious about indicating this sort of thing. That said, I'm not personally that gung ho about implementing something that would then need to be enforced. We have a "be cool" position about spoilers generally and people who really get bent out of shape if spoilers are revealed to them have to tread with caution in threads about current events and movies. We try to keep spoilers off the front page of AskMe and MeFi most of the time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:02 PM on December 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think people just need to be reasonable about it. That is: keep spoilers out of the post, and the first handful of comments, and any threads full of people discussing some tangentially-related aspect of the film.

If the main topic of the post and discussion is the film itself, spoilers (after the first few comments and especially far down) should be fair game.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:07 PM on December 25, 2009


Wait, Avatar needs spoilers?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm glad I caught this MeTa post. I didn't know about ROT13, so the ass end of the Avatar thread was a loss to me till now.
posted by brundlefly at 5:17 PM on December 25, 2009


Random aside, not really applicable to my general feelings about rot13 and mefi:

It seems like it'd be entirely possible to write a greasemonkey script that auto-detects rot13ed text based on letter frequency analysis and provides a pushbutton auto-decode of a detected sequence for the user. Examine each div on the page, calculate a frequency chart, check for a match against rot13, and pop up a button for some ajaxy translation.

It occurs to me that this idea is sufficiently straightforward that someone has probably already done it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:29 PM on December 25, 2009


Oh, there's bookmarklets that'd do it to any given span of selected text. I used to have a very robust crossbrowser one but I'm not finding it right now.
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on December 25, 2009


if you don't want to read spoilers, don't read a thread about a movie you haven't seen yet, duh.
posted by empath at 5:53 PM on December 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


Oh, there's bookmarklets that'd do it to any given span of selected text. I used to have a very robust crossbrowser one but I'm not finding it right now.

Yes, yes, but the letter frequency analysis!
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:57 PM on December 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


"if you don't want to read spoilers, don't read a thread about a movie you haven't seen yet, duh."

Which is why I can't read half of the internet right now, because Doctor Who has yet to be watched. It's awkward, but it's not up to other people to limit their discussion to suit those who lag behind. Spoiler warnings just end up with crappy-to-read threads.
posted by saturnine at 6:05 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really don't see the issue with having a spoiler tag that whites out text until it's selected. Yes, it's somewhat specialized, but it's a common feature on websites with much discussion. It's certainly more useful than the blink tag and serves a better purpose.
posted by flatluigi at 6:08 PM on December 25, 2009


The issues are implementation, education, enforcement, and policing. You have to make the tag work; you have to teach people how to and when to use the tag; you have to deal with situations where people are (by explicit policy or implicit community expectations) failing to use the tag; and you have to deal with the unintended consequences that come with people using the tag for things other than it was intended to be used for.

I don't think it's rocket science or anything, but there's more baggage involved than just saying "oh hey there's a spoiler tag now". Setting aside the question of implementing the actual functionality, there's a big question of whether all the extra hassle that comes with it is actually worth the net gain to the site.

My opinion is that it's really, really not for the specific case of Metafilter, where detailed spoiler management is not anywhere close to being central to the community practices of the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:15 PM on December 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Alright, I'll trust that you've all thought about it a lot.
posted by flatluigi at 6:18 PM on December 25, 2009


Oh my god. I just took a look at that thread, and people are actually using ROT13 to talk about the movie, and it was completely off-putting and actually made me a little angry. I hope people don't start doing this all over metafilter. I don't want to see a whole bunch of text I can't read or would have to translate somehow. That is like the opposite of metafilter, to me.
posted by prefpara at 6:30 PM on December 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


/don't celebrate Christmas, just drunk.

Being drunk should always be a celebration! If not, what's the point? :)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:36 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a person who until today hadn't encountered ROT13, and went over to look at the Avatar thread because of this post (I read it when it was first posted, didn't know it was still going on), I'd really like to register my dislike of it. I don't know how to change it back. I googled it, like it was mentioned in the thread, and it's not something I can figure out right now.

If there is something on Metafilter that a user to click on, or check, to turn it on or off easily, I wouldn't mind. As it is, it's a barrier to participation in the thread. I just saw the film, and felt like sharing (not spoiling), but given that I can't understand half of the thread, I just won't bother, because I can't know if I'll just be saying something a dozen other people said.

I feel that things that makes the site harder to use for people who aren't in the know about it shouldn't be encouraged. As it is, I usually don't mind spoilers, and do like to read the threads. If everything is going to be ROT13, there needs to be a simple way to get around it, or I, and I imagine a lot of other people, will just give up on whole threads.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:37 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah if ROT13 becomes some sort of habit, we'll politely ask people to take it to MeMail/email/whatever. I was as surprised as you were, I don't think I've ever seen a thread turn into ROT13 before.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 PM on December 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


At first I thought it was the Na'vi language and was like, wow, big fans already.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:51 PM on December 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow.

TBH It had never occured to me in the slighttest that obscuring spoilers would actually anger people.
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on December 25, 2009


Solon and Thanks: If the main topic of the post and discussion is the film itself, spoilers should be fair game.
That.

Ghidorah: things that makes the site harder to use for people who aren't in the know about it shouldn't be encouraged.
This too.
posted by bru at 7:01 PM on December 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, I think for some people the annoyance comes in at having to go through several extra steps (google and find a program to translate ROT13, copy and paste the comment you want to read, input what you want to say, translate it, paste it into metafilter) with no clear "profit!" step, since a more logical solution would be for spoilerphobes to stay out of long, discussiony threads for movies for which they want to be remain spoiler-free.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:04 PM on December 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Artw: TBH It had never occured to me in the slighttest that obscuring spoilers would actually anger people.

Yeah, the rot13 thing is kinda annoying. Not very annoying, but just a tiny, tiny bit, like realizing that you forgot to pack a fork with your lunch and you're gonna have to get a plastic fork from the cafeteria and that means buying a cup of coffee or something to feel less awkward.
posted by Kattullus at 7:05 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


maybe if there were a thread not really related to (for example) avatar, and someone just had to post an avatar spoiler, they could hotlink the text to the ROT13 translation page.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:06 PM on December 25, 2009


Well, yeah, TBH I am totally with you on the not visting long likely-to-have-spoilers threads until I've seen something, but on the other hand I'm not going to start throwing in open spoilers once Ihave seen something because that's a total dick move.

So I guess what we are saying here is that if I want to discuss sepcifics on something that people might not have seen I just shouldn't? Because that's not very satisfying either.
posted by Artw at 7:11 PM on December 25, 2009


Rot 13 doesn't anger me, but if movie threads get to be full of rot13, i'm not going read them.
posted by empath at 7:13 PM on December 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


TBH It had never occured to me in the slighttest that obscuring spoilers would actually anger people.

I think it's an order-of-precedence thing; I doubt anyone would object, in a null context, to the idea of not-spoiling-stuff-for-people, because, okay, that's a nice considerate thing to do. What matters is how it happens, and what people are likely to object to is the idea of making-the-site-hard-to-read. And they're going to, in general, put that at a higher precedence than the spoiler thing, for a broad selection of the readerbase.

I think it's great that there are spoiler-management features at places that specifically discuss narrative and plot and so on. It works well on TVtropes, I assume it's done on Television Without Pity and other such media-centric sites as well. There, there's a shared priority for that specific function: it's a general community expectation, and so the objection to the obfuscation isn't an issue.

Here, that's not the case. Discussing stuff, in the plain, is the shared expectation of the metafilter community. What's surprising from one perspective is pretty understandable from a different perspective. Neither perspective is inherently more correct, but the local culture defines what's going to be well-received and what isn't.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:13 PM on December 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


So I guess what we are saying here is that if I want to discuss sepcifics on something that people might not have seen I just shouldn't? Because that's not very satisfying either.

I think what we're saying here is that if you want to discuss specifics on something that people might not have seen, you should evaluate the specific context and make a decision about how to proceed from there. I don't think there's any really great shortcut for that evaluation, but we could jaw about general frameworks and guidelines if you want.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:16 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you feel like playing with some HTML, one thing I've seen done occasionally is using <ABBR> or <ACRONYM> tags with the title attribute to put spoilers in the mouseover title. If you type:

<abbr title="Rosebud was his sled.">Mouseover for spoilers.</abbr>
<acronym title="Darth Vader is Luke's father.">Mouseover for more spoilers.</acronym>

you get:

Mouseover for spoilers.
Mouseover for more spoilers.

This has the advantage of not needing to add any additional HTML, though it's definitely an off-label use of these tags.
posted by Upton O'Good at 7:31 PM on December 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Abbr & acronym apparently don't work on the iPhone, & text in the background color either, without pasting, & I'm not sure that works.

I'd consider setting up a mirror of that page, un-rot13ed, but I plan to watch Avatar soon.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:57 PM on December 25, 2009


If you frequent enough boards where ROT13 is the norm, you will eventually learn to read ROT13 as fast as you read regular English.

Then you're back where you started. If I don't want to know what happens in a movie, I don't read any discussions of it until I've seen it. I think that the onus is on the person trying to remain content-naive, not on the people in the thread discussing a particular movie or whatever.

There was a hilarious case on LiveJournal recently where someone was all angry that other people were spoiling the end of a manga. It was a manga that retold Romeo and Juliet.

Also, I was pre-spoiled for Citizen Kane by Charles Schulz. Urer or fcbvyref!
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:01 PM on December 25, 2009


Wait, Avatar needs spoilers?!

Seriously. I actually kind of enjoyed it, and thought it was visually groundbreaking. But I can't possibly imagine how foreknowledge of the "story" could affect the viewing experience in any way. If you ever have seen any movie before, or any type of story in any medium at all, you will not be surprised by a single plot point. You will know exactly how everything is going to play out within minutes of the movie starting anyway.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:45 PM on December 25, 2009


What about people who naturally decode ROT13 in their heads? (not to mention GOO22, SIC66, and FIB37)...
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:18 PM on December 25, 2009


What about people who naturally decode ROT13 in their heads? (not to mention GOO22, SIC66, and FIB37)...

For improved security of spoilers, MetaFilter now supports double-ROT13 encryption of comments.
posted by FishBike at 9:32 PM on December 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


you think ROT13 is a pain in the ass? im posting this comment from my wii.
posted by davejay at 9:37 PM on December 25, 2009


ROT13 a barrier to entry, making a thread exclusive rather than inclusive, confusing the folks who might otherwise be interested in the conversation. It's absolutely no better than the incredibly stupid, ill-thought-out, power-tripping, nose-rubbing, petty, childish, tinpot-dictator fuck-wad crutch that is "disemvoweling."

Unless spoilers are showing up out of nowhere in an unrelated thread ("Obama has the votes to pass health care JUST LIKE LUKE'S FATHER WAS JAR JAR"), you have to expect spoilers in a conversation that revolves around a book, movie or other cultural phenomenon. It's weak to cater to people who want their cake and want to eat it as well.
posted by maxwelton at 9:53 PM on December 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


I want to vote really strongly against the idea of ROT13 becoming a norm here. And I don't even have the slightest trouble reading it, so it wouldn't inconvenience me--it would just feel too Inside US Nerd Culture to be right for MetaFilter.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:05 PM on December 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Darth Vader is Luke's father

God fucking dammit. Please use ROT13 for spoilers you fucker.
posted by rabinowitz at 10:45 PM on December 25, 2009


Holy crap ROT 13 is obnoxious. Do not want!
posted by mollymayhem at 10:50 PM on December 25, 2009


Secret decoder rings for those in the know does not make for an inviting community. Obfuscating the discussion on a community discussion site is bass-ackwards.
posted by Babblesort at 11:00 PM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus dies.
posted by trondant at 12:03 AM on December 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Typical Hollywood that they brought him back for a sequel anyway.
posted by Abiezer at 1:14 AM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


trondant: "Jesus dies"

THAT was greatness!
posted by dancestoblue at 1:38 AM on December 26, 2009


Well, get users to agree to post "spoiler alert" in the pertinent message and then hide messages with that text in their content through a script. A few people already post spoilers with that text and it's a lot less obnoxious than ROT13.

But, uhh, good luck getting everybody to agree to do it.
posted by mdevore at 1:59 AM on December 26, 2009


For those using the astral version of MeFi please be aware that use of ROT13 is strictly forbidden, haram, and totally sucks donkey balls.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:15 AM on December 26, 2009


For the record, I have no idea what Artw was saying. I was just randomly typing gibberish.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:34 AM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Technical solutions in order to replace simple common courtesy and consideration never end well in the long term.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:40 AM on December 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


It had never occured to me in the slighttest that obscuring spoilers would actually anger people.

I've always been one of the "jesus people stop spoiling things without warning" folks, but filling a thread with code is ridiculous. A simple


SPOILER





before you start writing the spoiling text has served the purpose just fine for years online, without the absurd step of forcing people to decode ordinary text.
posted by mediareport at 6:05 AM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah if ROT13 becomes some sort of habit, we'll politely ask people to take it to MeMail/email/whatever.

May I suggest you do that the very next time it shows up in another thread?
posted by mediareport at 6:11 AM on December 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


..-. ..- -.-. -.- .. -. .----. --. . . -.- ...
posted by gman at 7:14 AM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


ROT13's okay in moderation. Been using it on and off since early 90s UK online stuff, so it's not just the US. Like all things that require moderation in use, if you think you need it, you probably don't.
posted by scruss at 7:29 AM on December 26, 2009


ROT13's okay in moderation.

I disagree!!!!

We should probably do an experiment about it though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on December 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find it amusing that this comes up in connection with Avatar. I mean, I hope no one is going to a James Cameron film for its unpredictability. The man's dialogue does more to spoil the film than knowing the ending ever could.

Or, as was said of Unbreakable: The surprise ending is that it sucks.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:20 AM on December 26, 2009


"Yeah if ROT13 becomes some sort of habit, we'll politely ask people to take it to MeMail/email/whatever. I was as surprised as you were, I don't think I've ever seen a thread turn into ROT13 before."

I use ROT13 every once and a while, for about the same reasons as things devolve into morse code. Just so I'm clear this kind of occasional use is ok right?

I'm amazed so many people didn't a) recognise the text immediately and b) didn't know what it was. The internet has come a long way.

Solon and Thanks writes "Well, I think for some people the annoyance comes in at having to go through several extra steps (google and find a program to translate ROT13, copy and paste the comment you want to read, input what you want to say, translate it, paste it into metafilter) with no clear 'profit!' step, since a more logical solution would be for spoilerphobes to stay out of long, discussiony threads for movies for which they want to be remain spoiler-f"

Install 'Leet Key and translation is a key click away.
posted by Mitheral at 8:20 AM on December 26, 2009


Install 'Leet Key and translation is a key click away.

Having to install a plugin of a browser that may not be user's chance isn't a simple fix for all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:49 AM on December 26, 2009


Obviously this is just my opinion, but Metafilter seems to get a lot of discussions of video games, literature, movies, television shows, and so on. Not all about one kind of thing, but a fair number of overall post on 'things that could be spoilery'.

I dunno about asking the mods to police it or anything, but the thing about a tag that just requires selecting is that to decode the whole page at once, you just hit CTRL-A. Then you don't have to worry about it after that point. Every modern browser that I know of already has a select all function that doesn't require installing anything else. Every modern browser will let people select text with a mouse. No plugins, bookmarklets, third-party websites necessary, with that one relatively minor change to the overall site.

But that said, when I don't want to be spoiled, I avoid threads on the subject totally. I'm not necessarily opposed to that. I am definitely opposed to ROT-13 becoming a common thing because it's ugly and an unnecessary barrier to reading the thread.
posted by larkspur at 9:36 AM on December 26, 2009


I knew it would be the Ice Warriors!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:40 AM on December 26, 2009


Oh yeah, I'm literate, you bet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:40 AM on December 26, 2009


Brandon Blatcher writes "Having to install a plugin of a browser that may not be user's chance isn't a simple fix for all."

Sure. But if your running firefox then it is a heck of a lot simpler than Solon and Thanks method of handling ROT-13.
posted by Mitheral at 12:13 PM on December 26, 2009


Add me to the list of users who hate, hate, hate the idea of ROT-13 for spoilers. On the rare occasions where I care about being spoiled, I'll refrain from reading the thread. I don't want to ruin people's moviegoing/bookreading/TV-watching/etc. experience, but doing more than typing "SPOILER" and a few lines of leading text is more effort than internet discussion is worth.
posted by immlass at 1:45 PM on December 26, 2009


Doesn't actually work very well though.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on December 26, 2009


The ROT13 in that thread sucks. Seriously. Sorry I'm too fucking insufficiently geeky to be permitted to skim your conversation.
posted by desuetude at 5:30 PM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm hopefully going to see the movie in a couple of days, so I'll be back and read that thread then.

I usually avoid threads about movies I don't want spoiled, although I'm not too worried about Avatar.

What really pissed me off once was an Askme about Neil Stephenson's Anathem that just dumped what looked like it could have been a major plot point right on the front page of Askme. (It wasn't clear if it was something that was integral to the plot, or just something that would be brought up and talked about, so there was still still suspense)

So irritating.
posted by delmoi at 11:06 PM on December 26, 2009


Also, I don't think ROT-13 should be implemented for spoilers, it's too specific, but having a custom <spoiler> tag for people to use would be really nice.

That way, you could also have a toggle on the top of the page to turn it off.

I realize this is a "generalist" site but we do talk about movies and books a lot. And people who have seen the move should be able to talk about it without ruining it for others.
posted by delmoi at 11:07 PM on December 26, 2009


The l33t way to do it is using a title field in an html tag that doesn't get stripped by the post form:

SPOILER

<abbr title="spoiler text here">SPOILER</abbr>
posted by qvantamon at 11:08 PM on December 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


hm, the idea is you move your mouse cursor over the first "SPOILER" above.
posted by qvantamon at 11:08 PM on December 26, 2009


SPOILERS
posted by pyramid termite at 7:22 AM on December 27, 2009


Artw, if that's me you're aiming that "doesn't work very well" line at, ROT-13 doesn't work very well for me. It's a lot easier for spoilerphobes to stay out of threads for things they don't want to read about than for me to change browsers and/or install toolbars, port text to web pages to decode, etc. All you have to do is not open that tab.

Like I said, I don't want to ruin the experience for spoilerphobes, but I've run into so many absolutely ridiculous demands for spoiler warnings that I'm extremely wary of spoiler measures. When people are complaining about spoilers in a thread entitled "What made you like Titanic?" (which had been out for two months at the time, btw), I get kind of impatient. What do you expect in a thread that's set up to discuss the details of a movie?

Policing spoilers, complaining about spoilers, and insisting on using spoiler text (especially if it's not pre-coded the way bold and italics are) will drive me away from participating in Metafilter discussions of popular culture. This is not a popular thing to say because it sounds like picking on the poor little spoilerphobes, but there are folks who feel this way and someone should put in their $0.02 about it on MeTa.

Also, has someone Spoilt yet or have I just missed it?
posted by immlass at 8:25 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doesn't actually work very well though.

SPOILER
spoiler
spoiler
spoiler
spoiler
Jesus comes back from the dead!


works better for me than ROT-13, without annoying others.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:42 AM on December 27, 2009


TBH I'd avoid putting naything that was a heavy spoiler into the SPOILER - gap format, on account of the not actually working. The idea is to provide some easily defeatable but non-zero level of conscious effort to read the particular peice of text. So if ROT 13 is not an option then I'm going back to requesting SPOILER tags.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on December 27, 2009


I'd avoid putting naything that was a heavy spoiler into the SPOILER - gap format, on account of the not actually working.

People who feel that movies are spoiled by knowing details should take it upon themselves to stop reading when they see the word SPOILER. I'd think that those who feel this way (it's not universal) would be particularly sensitive to that combination of letters.

I don't see the point of making a discussion incomprehensible to everyone who actually wants to read it.
posted by desuetude at 11:36 AM on December 27, 2009


So thre4ades are a lot easier to read if they are full of spoilers and reading them is your own damn fault?

I'm in upside down land here.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


So thre4ades are a lot easier to read if they are full of spoilers and reading them is your own damn fault?

Compared to encountering blocks of ROT13'd text, the "spoiler"+space convention is much easier to read, yes.

After all, isn't that the whole point to ROT13-ing the spoilers, that it makes them much harder to read?
posted by FishBike at 12:45 PM on December 27, 2009


I'm in upside down land here.

No, Artw, people just have different opinions and preferences than yours.

Some of us prefer the barrier to entry to be "if you want to be content-naive about $MOVIE, avoiding threads about $MOVIE is the way to go." Others of us prefer the spoiler/space thing. Others prefer the html spoiler tag, but those others don't include the mods, so that's off the pony table. You prefer ROT-13.

All of these points of view are reasonable; they're just different.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:00 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, no, I'd prefer spoiler tags, however they are not available. Rot13 was simply a convenient alternative to that. Aparrently it turns out a big chunk of mefites really, really don't like it so I'll not be using or suggesting that again.

So we're left with the status quo: thread avoidance and staying quiet about things. I can abide by that but I don't particularly agree that it's more "open".

Where it is upsidedown land is that concealing text is considered dickish and open spoilers are not. Sorry, never going to understand or agree with that.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on December 27, 2009


Well, there's an open spoiler and then there's an open spoiler. Years ago, I seem to recall a quickly-deleted one-sentence Harry Potter spoiler stunt post (Dumbledore is Gay! or Harry Dies! or something. Hell if I know, I don't read that stuff)--the spoiler, right on the front page.

On the other hand, if I click on a 100-plus-comment thread about a movie, it might be reasonable to think that there might be some details about the plot in there.
posted by box at 1:20 PM on December 27, 2009


Where it is upsidedown land is that concealing text is considered dickish and open spoilers are not. Sorry, never going to understand or agree with that.

I don't think that's what we're saying. I wouldn't describe a mechanism for concealing text as "dickish", anyway, just that it makes the thread take more effort to read and is inconvenent and annoying for people who want to read the thread. It would only be dickish if that were the primary goal as opposed to being a mechanism to help prevent accidental reading of spoilers by the spoiler-averse.

And I think that posting significant spoilers in the open, in a thread where they wouldn't be expected, actually is a dickish thing to do. We may just be disagreeing on the type of threads where spoilers are expected, and thus the degree to which they should be shielded from accidental viewing in some manner.
posted by FishBike at 1:34 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Where it is upsidedown land is that concealing text is considered dickish and open spoilers are not. Sorry, never going to understand or agree with that.

It's not a direct comparison, and you're not putting either of those in context.

Dickish things: intentionally, obnoxiously spoiling stuff for people; throwing obfuscation in the way of normal expectations of conversational procedure.

Non-dickish things: discussing potentially spoilerish content in a place where that sort of thing can be reasonably expected to be done in good faith; trying not to accidentally spoil stuff for people.

Site culture here is such that spoilers are pretty much an expected possibility in threads discussing the possibly-spoiled work, while intentional or thoughtless above-the-fold spoiling of recent works is considered not so okay. Another part of the existing culture is that a thread should be just plain readable, full stop; rot13, for example, is disruptive because it breaks that expectation and leaves the default reader in the dark as to what is going on.

Other sites have different cultural expectations. Some places have dedicated spoiler-free and spoiler-friendly areas; others make a point of explicitly warning of (or warning off) spoilers on a per-item basis; other still have a technical and behavioral toolset for explicitly munging spoiler text as a part of conversation. Different things for different places, no one of them inherently more correct than another. What is and is not considered dickish (or mildly inconsiderate, or or or) is fundamentally a matter of local practice and expectations.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:05 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Where it is upsidedown land is that concealing text is considered dickish and open spoilers are not.

Cortex and Fishbike said what I had to say better than I could say it.

Spoilers are an artifact of a time when people were expected to consume popular culture simultaneously and therefore you saw it when it came out or you'd missed it. They're problematic on an international web site where people can post all the time. I'm a Doctor Who fan and if I cared, I could easily be miserable about spoilers for that show.

It's rude to put spoilers in obvious places like Facebook statuses or the front page of Metafilter, sure, but how long are people supposed to wait before they discuss a movie/TV show/book they're interested somewhere on the big wide internet, or deep in the comments of a Metafilter post on that topic?

Spoilers are exactly like NSFW posts/links and should be treated exactly the same way on MetaFilter: it's a courtesy to warn for them (and you should, because you should try to be nice) but not a requirement or an offense requiring punishment if you fail. If you don't want to be exposed, caveat lector.
posted by immlass at 2:21 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Iway avehay anway unningcay ideaway orfay encodingway oilersspay.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:40 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


My personal opinion:
Rot 13 - No
Spoiler Tags - No
Skipping threads that discuss something you don't want to be spoiled for - Yes
Pig Latin - Hell, Yes!
posted by nooneyouknow at 4:43 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote for just the word:

FCBVYREF
posted by sammyo at 6:08 PM on December 27, 2009


Ymay ersonalpay opinionyay: Otray 13 - Onay Oilerspay Agstay - Onay Ippingskay eadsthray atthay iscussday omethingsay youay on'tday antway otay ebay oiledspay orfay - Yesay Igpay Atinlay - Ellhay, Yesay!

If there a single click translation tool to reverse pig latin? Amazingly it's missing from 'Leet Key.
posted by Mitheral at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2009


re: upside down land.

In geek culture spoilers are pretty much worstthingevers. In the larger culture, they're a bummer, sometimes, but that's about it. In fact, sometimes they're considered better. In many mainstream film/book/whatevs reviews they'll pretty much recount the entirety of the plot. Now, I'm enough of a geek (in some ways, the biggest geek) to prefer a spoiler-free existence, but my reaction is to avoid all and any threads that are about media which might be spoilt (e.g. the Dr. Who thread). But for most of the world, spoilers aren't that big of a deal.

But yeah, posts to the front page which spoil should be deleted.
posted by Kattullus at 10:55 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're seriously spoiler-averse the internet is hell. There are a few things that I've tried REALLY hard not to get spoiled on (the new Star Trek movie, f'rinstance) and to keep form getting spoiled you have to not only avoid obvious "Kirk is Spock's Mother!" type spoilers, you have to avoid any discussion of the thing at all - because, yeah, the big plot points are important, but anything that people can talk about is important. In that Avatar thread, if you want to not be spoiled basically the whole damn thing would need to be ROT13, which makes no sense.

Absolute zero on the spoiler scale is impossible. Near zero is achievable, but only by staying the hell away from people discussing the movie.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:26 AM on December 28, 2009


Spoiler Alert:




Sherlock Holmes is better than the critics are are suggesting. As long as you go into it knowing it's a 1.) a buddy-cop type movie, 2.) an action film, 3.) a Guy Ritchie piece (and all that entails), and 4.) non-canon, you'll probably like it too.

Plus, Rachel McAdams' character is awesome.
posted by quin at 9:17 AM on December 28, 2009


Since you mention it, yeah, that Who thread is pretty terrible in regards to spoilers.
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on December 28, 2009


quin: Sherlock Holmes is better than the critics are are suggesting. As long as you go into it knowing it's a 1.) a buddy-cop type movie, 2.) an action film, 3.) a Guy Ritchie piece (and all that entails), and 4.) non-canon, you'll probably like it too.

Yeah, I'm quite excited to see it. I was wary because, y'know... Guy Ritchie... but film critic Mark Kermode, who's loathed every movie Ritchie with horrendous force has made since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, liked it. I'm not a hardcore Holmes-nerd but I have read every one of the stories and my fondness for that archetype is quite deep (House!). So now I'm quite eager to go see it. Glad to hear more good things about it.
posted by Kattullus at 10:54 AM on December 28, 2009


Sherlock Holmes sounds gloriously stupid. I'm totally up for that.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2009


Sherlock Holmes is a lot of fun. I think it would be getting better reviews if the title were changed and the two leads had different names. People wouldn't be getting up in arms about the tonal departure from previous versions of Holmes.

(This was the first Guy Ritchie movie I could tolerate.)
posted by brundlefly at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2009


I dunno, that it's an abomination is half the reason I'll be off to see it.

Good review by Elizabeth Bear here.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on December 28, 2009


That's a spot on review, Artw. The comparison to James Bond (pre-Casino Royal) is apt.
posted by brundlefly at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2009


Artw: Good review by Elizabeth Bear here.

(Like Mark Kermode) I'm curious what Sherlock Holmes übernerd, movie critic and SF writer Kim Newman has to say. I don't suppose anybody's seen him review it anywhere.
posted by Kattullus at 12:06 PM on December 28, 2009


Holmes: Where's ya tool?
Moriarty: What fuckin' tool?
Holmes: This fuckin' tool!
[Holmes slips a calabash pipe out of his pocket and lights it, puffing the smoke in Moriarty's face]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:45 PM on December 28, 2009


I'm hoping for overlaid trajectory lines on the fight scenes.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on December 28, 2009


I am excited to see the movie. It reminds me of John Roger's take on Sherlock Holmes:

Alan Scott: Also, some of us haven't been exposed to your Holmes/Watson rant--and if we didn't want to hear you rant, we wouldn't be reading your blog.

Commenter ajay pretty much nailed it: Absolutely. At the beginning of "A Study in Scarlet", Watson has just returned from Afghanistan with a nasty case of PTSD. He went straight into the Army from medical school, and straight to Afghanistan the next year. So he can't really be more than 26 or so when the novel starts - Victorian doctors went to university at 18 or so and studied for five or six years. And Holmes is about the same age if not younger - he's studying at the university, he's had no previous job that anyone mentions, and Watson doesn't describe him as significantly older than himself.

John Watson is a twenty-six year old combat hard-ass with mujhadeen shrapnel buried in his leg (or shoulder, depending on the story), not some foppish fuckwit with a bowler hat. Sherlock Holmes is your substance-abusing perpetual grad student solving cases for the London underworld/working class that the cops won't touch. THAT'S why everybody fucks up Holmes and Watson including, probably, my favorite writer in the world.

About two years ago I was developing that version of Holmes and Watson with a director to do a TV pilot, and our agents correctly argued that no network was really looking for that. However, it's my fondest wish to someday do that show.

Oh, and they're women. Did I mention that?

Maybe, someday.
I am agnostic on they're both chicks part, but the rest sounds awesome.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]




I thought Sherlock Holmes was awesome, FWIW. Spoilers: There is a lot of punching.

Oh, and possibly quite predictably this thread has turned into a huge largely unmarked spoiler thread for District 9.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on January 7, 2010


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