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A Reminder...
May 30, 2011 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Hi, just a quick reminder that Doctor Who is now being shown on BBC America one week behind the UK, not same day as it was previously, and that though general Metafilter policy is pretty hands-off regarding spoilers it would be great if you could avoid posting any them in any open who Threads that are not directly about current episodes, as not everyone is torrenting it, cheers.
posted by Artw to MetaFilter-Related at 8:10 AM (388 comments total)

Holy run-on sentence, Batman Doctor.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


With BBCA's stupid stupid delay, I'd agree with this... though over time all DW threads sort of mutate into ones about episodes, not a bad thing imo, and I think it's also not a bad thing to be spoiler-friendly at that point.

Of course no one really agrees on just where that boundary is and that causes the problems. Not sure the solution on this.

But I digress. In the meantime though, ArtW is 100% right. We have a currently spoiler-friendly thread going here, though it won't last much longer, and I think it makes sense to use it while it lasts instead of the other thread.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:16 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The goggles comma splices, they do nothing!
posted by cashman at 8:16 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


(and then we can worry about what to do then at that point)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:16 AM on May 30, 2011


Whatevs. Still a bit annoyed by getting a face full of Almost People Spoilers TBH, so I appologise if my request for basic politness is not quite to your liking.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


... I was agreeing with you.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:17 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


(or did you mean the run-on sentence thing, which was a bit silly to point out, imo)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:18 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reads with the tone of the 'friendly reminder' type email from my boss with the subject matter of an email from my 12 year old self.
posted by Think_Long at 8:18 AM on May 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


/ says guy who just started Tennant's first series last month.
posted by Think_Long at 8:18 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem is that now we're going to be on a week delay for the mini-season enders, too (I'm assuming), and the spoiler-safe thread is about to end. The OP of this MeTa implies that there should only be discussions of eps that have aired in threads about eps that have aired, which the mods have already said isn't their stance on spoilers.

I still think this is a problem more because it's an off-label use of the site--namely we're using it as a live discussion of new episodes. And I still don't know what the solution is. I've tried other Who message boards; the discussion isn't nearly as perceptive as it is here. I don't think metachat has a big Who-chatting contingent. I want to talk about Doctor Who with you guys--but it does cause spoiler problems.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:24 AM on May 30, 2011


I mean, what was the purpose of the BBC America delay, anyway? There is no reason for it as far as I can tell. What did they run on Saturday night? Was it more Top Gear, some Gordon Ramsay, or yet another showing of a Star Trek movie with a villain played by a British actor? It surely can't have been anything, you know, that was actually important on any level.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on May 30, 2011


I think they ran repeats.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:27 AM on May 30, 2011


I think they ran repeats.

Yeah, I guess they see it as an oportunity to build an audience or whatever? Instead now I'm going to have every episode relayed to me in snippets before I get a chance to watch them, unless I torrent the fucker. Great.
posted by Artw at 8:29 AM on May 30, 2011


. . . dude, no one's really arguing with you that you don't have a point (though again, saying "go to this other, soon-dying thread" is really just a band-aid). I, for one, promptly ran to the other thread to talk about the episode. Chillax.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:31 AM on May 30, 2011


Doesn't every thread on metafilter eventually turn into a Doctor Who thread?
posted by stavrogin at 8:32 AM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Yeah, pretty much. All the television/sci-fi/time travel related ones, at least.

Which is, you know, most of them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:33 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is why I support the addition of a new subsite dedicated to the discussion of pop culture stuff, like new episodes of TV shows, movies, and so on. Like TWOP, but a manageable size and good moderators!

I know it wouldn't really work, but every time I watch a new Doctor Who episode, I get all omg omg i NEED to discuss this with people! And Mefites are totally the best choice.
posted by meese at 8:34 AM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


The OP of this MeTa implies that there should only be discussions of eps that have aired in threads about eps that have aired, which the mods have already said isn't their stance on spoilers.

Well, yes, I imply that because it's basic politness. Nothing to do with the mods position - the mods position is basically they don't want to do anything and want to pretend it isn't a problem. This is me, as a user, asking other users to show some consideration. If you wnat to go ahead and be a jerk with the full blessing of the mods then, yes, you have an opportunitry to do that and nobody is really going to stoo you.
posted by Artw at 8:35 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think they ran repeats.

They ran a marathon on Saturday of the first few episodes of this season, maybe because it's Memorial Day Weekend and they thought people would be on vacation without access to TVs. Or something. I don't know, I don't really get it.
posted by Tin Man at 8:35 AM on May 30, 2011


And DVRs are clearly not a thing.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2011


Well, we're not the only ones who are lamenting this bullshit:

BBC America Delays New “Doctor Who"

DOCTOR WHO SERIES 6 DELAYED IN NORTH AMERICA (wherein we learn that Space (I think they're the Canadian carrier of Doctor Who) also now has the delay.)

No New Doctor Who in North America Next Week

And if you're Facebookish, you can bitch about it here.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the thinking is that people just won't be home to watch it (if I remember right, I believe Syfy used to do the same thing over US holiday weekends). Even if this were true, though, BBCA reruns last week's episode before the new one anyway, so it's all kind of bone-headed.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:37 AM on May 30, 2011


I mean, what was the purpose of the BBC America delay, anyway?

My theory is they're testing to see whether more people buy or torrent with these two last episodes. I bought a season pass and for the most part it's been pretty good (last week it was late for no known reason but did turn up). I have otherwise acquired last week's episode and will do with the last as well.

If my theory is right, they'll find out that people torrent the week-late episodes a lot more and the fall episodes won't be delayed. Here's hoping.
posted by immlass at 8:38 AM on May 30, 2011


From here:

"As announced earlier this year, BBC America will air the next episode of Doctor Who on Sat. 6/4 as many will be traveling over Memorial Day weekend and will not be able to enjoy the episode. On Sat. 5/28 we will air a back-to-back uncut marathon of the first five episodes of this season's Doctor Who, starting at 4pm ET.

Thanks so much for your comments.

BBC America Viewer Relations"

Followed by many people venting their complaints.
posted by Tin Man at 8:39 AM on May 30, 2011


And I just went to the BBC America website and used their contact form to bitch at them about this whole thing.

They've really fucked this one up big time. Pretty much anyone who knows how to torrent is grabbing this episode right now, unless they've hit their bandwidth cap for the month. So much for BBCA being good at selling eyeballs to their advertisers.
posted by hippybear at 8:42 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you wnat to go ahead and be a jerk with the full blessing of the mods then, yes, you have an opportunitry to do that and nobody is really going to stoo you.

I suspect that people want to talk about the new episodes out of excitement and enthusiasm, and it's probably not nice to call them jerks since it's entirely likely that some people who have already seen it (those in the UK, maybe), didn't realize that those in the US haven't.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:43 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am no way calling people who post spoilers not knowing jerks. Thank you. This offer in no way extends to people who knowingly post spoilers.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing to do with the mods position - the mods position is basically they don't want to do anything and want to pretend it isn't a problem. This is me, as a user, asking other users to show some consideration. If you wnat to go ahead and be a jerk with the full blessing of the mods

I like you and I sympathize, but you don't need to be as jerky about this as you're being. Personally I would rather the mods' time and attention be invested in something other than playing spoiler police.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:46 AM on May 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


SPOILER: Guvf jvyy jraqryy.
posted by Eideteker at 8:48 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, my fellow Americans have to shut the hell up about what happens in every other show because it may take a few weeks to air overseas, right?
posted by inturnaround at 8:54 AM on May 30, 2011 [33 favorites]


Personally I would rather the mods' time and attention be invested in something other than playing spoiler police.

Well, that's fair enough, part of their attempt to pretend that there are no possible problems here is to be condescending as hell to anyone who doesn't buy in to their dream world version of how Metafilter work, so in this I'd class them as irrelevant if not actively unhelpful. TBH I think I'm being overly kind calling them handfs-off rather than activly pro-spoiler.
posted by Artw at 8:55 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're either with the anti-spoilers or you're with the terrorists.
posted by gman at 8:58 AM on May 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I know it's, like, Stephen Moffat's stance on the whole issue, but I find the idea that people who are pro-spoiler are big jerky jerkfaces to be so weird. I'm mildly pro-spoiler (in life, not just on metafilter), but I understand where people on the other side are coming from and don't begrudge them anything.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:59 AM on May 30, 2011


tl;dr version:

If only we had some kind of spoiler system...
posted by Eideteker at 9:02 AM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think the problem is, aside from the UK people not knowing that the US and Canada would be delayed starting from this week, is that MetaFilter really isn't the right place to have these kinds of discussions.

I mean, it's fun to live blog special events or unfolding news stories, and it's fun to have quality posts where people end up discussing things... But there is no good mechanism on MetaFilter or any of its subsites which is set up for doing this kind of "discuss the newest episode of X" thing.

Now, perhaps the case could be made that we needed a MeTV subsection which is devoted to such discussion. But that sounds like a giant headache and like something which would grow out of control pretty quickly.

There are a zillion places online which are designed for discussion various television series. And while I love talking about stuff with MeFites because I think the quality of the discussion is generally higher than other places, short of actually opening up a whole devoted section to this kind of thing, I think it's going to end up being something which happens rarely rather than something people should come to expect from MetaFilter.

As far as this specific incident goes... I think it's a simple case of people not having known that there was a delay, and people shouldn't freak out about it happening or expect that we're regularly going to see such spoilery things for the rest of the season. The open thread being used as a spoiler-laden place at the moment will be closed soon, and I can't imagine the mods allowing a new thread to open which says, basically, "discuss the new episode here".
posted by hippybear at 9:04 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


People clearly want to talk about this show on metafilter. That includes folks in the UK and US. They want to talk about it AS SOON AS IT AIRS and NOT BEFORE. Given that the episodes are shown a week apart, we seem to be at a standstill, especially since the non-Doctor-Who-watching majority (though it often seems like less) probably could do without seeing two new threads per week, much less one.

Take it to Metachat. Not a big crowd there now? Make one. Post a link whenever you want to talk about it. Communities and sub-communities start somewhere, and eventually, that will be where people talk about it.

But a really passive-aggressive MeTa that says, "I wish SOME PEOPLE would be more POLITE, the assholes."? Not a way to win battles, especially since most people posting probably don't visit MeTa. And since those people really just want the same thing you do- to talk about a show they really like as soon as it airs.
posted by supercres at 9:12 AM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


It seems like a given at this point that, whatever one might think about spoilers being a ludicrous concept, one ought to avoid them on MetaFilter like the plague because they cause such terrible upset.

Anyway, I haven't watched Who for a long time, because I thought David Tennant was just awful. I mean, bordering on Sylvester McCoy. Also: Catherine Tate. (I bowed to pressure and watched that one with the statues, which was great, in no small part because Tennant was hardly in it.)

But then I accidentally saw episode five of the current series, and it was like proper creepy Doctor Who! And the Doctor wasn't a goggle-eyed tosspot! So I had to watch episode six, which has - avert your eyes if you're hypersensitive to spoilers - a full-on bonkers ending.

I'd appreciate it if no one on MetaFilter spoiled any aspect of any episode featuring the eleventh Doctor until I've caught up ;-)
posted by jack_mo at 9:12 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Orrrrr... What hippybear said. Do'h.
posted by supercres at 9:12 AM on May 30, 2011


Given the ease and rapidity of either torrenting or pulling them off usenet within an hour or so of the episode airing, this choice seems reasonable to me:

If you can't stand being spoiled, then either

(1) Download it to catch up almost immediately, then join the discussion.
(2) Don't read Doctor Who threads, which are likely to contain discussion of Doctor Who.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:12 AM on May 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


I hate spoilers too, Artw, so even though I watch the episodes right after they air, BBCA and copyright law be damned, I'll promise not to post spoilers in threads that aren't already full of them.

(In emergencies, I hereby reserve the right to post spoilers with a perception filter attached.)
posted by maqsarian at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2011


In the UK, Who's on first.
posted by Hoopo at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


Know what? It's a Doctor Who thread. People will talk about Doctor Who. Spoil the new DW ep in a thread about Star Trek, or the UN, or suicide rates in India? You're a jerk.

Discuss a Doctor Who episode in a Doctor Who thread? That's just common sense.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:17 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let it slide, bro.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:25 AM on May 30, 2011


Oh god.
posted by maxwelton at 9:25 AM on May 30, 2011


Well , the circus has arrived, so I'll be off. If you were unaware of the time difference before, and this post was prompted by someone who was and posted some pretty big spoilers, then you are not now.
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on May 30, 2011


So, my fellow Americans have to shut the hell up about what happens in every other show because it may take a few weeks to air overseas, right?

How many years was it before we got The Wire? Would it have even been possible for Americans to shut up about it until it aired?

I'm not seeing it somehow.

Torrent it or STFU.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:27 AM on May 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


I am SO now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:28 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have MeFightClub and Sportsfilter. Some people who feel really strongly about this should start a TVFilter or MeFiWatches site. WITH a [-n optional] spoiler system. That would be so boss.
posted by Eideteker at 9:29 AM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm fairly sure that it was Moffat who implored fans to stay away from the internet if they didn't want surprises being ruined.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 9:30 AM on May 30, 2011


Well, that's fair enough, part of their attempt to pretend that there are no possible problems here is to be condescending as hell to anyone who doesn't buy in to their dream world version of how Metafilter work, so in this I'd class them as irrelevant if not actively unhelpful. TBH I think I'm being overly kind calling them handfs-off rather than activly pro-spoiler.

Oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by rtha at 9:30 AM on May 30, 2011 [27 favorites]


part of their attempt to pretend that there are no possible problems here is to be condescending as hell to anyone who doesn't buy in to their dream world version of how Metafilter work

This is not my perspective and I do not think it is the shared perspective of most of the people who have been involved in recent spoiler discussions. However, people who go on the aggressive "let's call people names who disagree with my personal perspective on this issue" are unlikely to win friends and influence people on this topic. If you think that statement is condescending as hell, then we are, again, in agree to disagree territory about this.

We enforce the policies that we think are enforceable. We explore policy alternatives publicly in full view of the community. We have been very communicative, perhaps overly so, in why we have and maintain the policies we have. You can do what you'd like with this information and if you think this makes us jerks, then that's what you think I guess. I work for you even if you're calling me names. I'd prefer to not be called names or have people imply that I'm stupid, mean, uncaring or snotty.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:36 AM on May 30, 2011 [53 favorites]


Well, if that isn't the pro-spoiler manifesto of someone who wants to twirl her mustache and ruin Doctor Who for everyone, then I don't know what is.
posted by stavrogin at 9:44 AM on May 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


> Well, that's fair enough, part of their attempt to pretend that there are no possible problems here is to be condescending as hell to anyone who doesn't buy in to their dream world version of how Metafilter work, so in this I'd class them as irrelevant if not actively unhelpful. TBH I think I'm being overly kind calling them handfs-off rather than activly pro-spoiler.

Dude, fucking drop it.

There are five to ten times as many people who read metafilter than who comment (as in logged in users who visit vs logged in users who post a comment in a month). Of that posting minority, there are maybe a tenth of them who actually participate in MetaTalk.

So far, anything that changes the display and layout of the text of the site (as per the earlier spoiler thread) manages to confuse around the other 95% of the users of this website, not even counting the un registered users who visit the site in droves as well. So whenever MetaFilter decides upon doing a change of the website design they have to balance the effort of implementing it vs the userbase that needs it. Spoilers would be minimally used, a ton of hassle, and cause chaos among the group of users who you, the person who thinks that it is so fucking easy to setup, have never, ever, had to interract with.

Besides the added confusion on that part, implementing a spoiler system means that the mods, who probably spend a ton of time already dealing with flagged comments, requests to fix HTML, broken links, will now all of a sudden have to also police comments that get flagged as spoiler because by providing a spoiler system MetaFilter now has to have some system of spoiler handling for when they show up outside the spoiler text.

In short, its a pain in the butt feature to add, for only a small group of folks who want to treat this place like it's TVSquad chat forum, and so the feature would have to be turned off by default for logged in folks. If it was turned on, it would cause chaos among the the majority of the people who read but never post and probably wouldn't even know what a spoiler or rot13 text is (as evidence by the emails to the mods triggered by the portal 2 thread), if it was turned off, the Spoiler Tag Happy people who throw a fit and send emails and flags everytime they see a spoiler posted by someone who a) didn't care b) didn't know about the spoiler tag (because they've never been to their prefences page before) c) didn't realize it was a spoiler. But because you guys now know there is a spoiler tag feature, you would feel at will to hop all over someone who posted a comment without using it, because WTF IT'S SO SIMPLE.

I would trust the people who say they wouldn't be such jerks about improper use of a spoiler tag if the same people didn't resort to passive agressive comments against the mods, name calling, and general stick in the mud defensiveness.

Saying "We will teach them, don't worry, I am good with people" and then when you don't get your way during the first round of the discussion changing that to "Fuck you and your dog, you all hate this and you want to fucking encourage spoilers" doesn't do well for your case of not being jerks to people who don't understand why spoilers tags are needed.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:54 AM on May 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


Here's what I would do if I was a fan of some TV show ( I'm not) and didn't want to have it spoiled by unwanted information. I wouldn't read threads about it, until I'd watched it. I'm crazy that way.

As an aside, your attitude frikken sucks.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:58 AM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


I like Dr. Who, but I've never understood the need to chatter on about it right after watching it. Given the rampant deus ex machina I never really watch them for the plot anyhow. And yeah, stay away from people talking about it if you are going to be precious about it.

IT'S A FUCKING TV SHOW
posted by edgeways at 10:06 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm probably a bigger spoilerphobe than most spoilerphobes, but I don't agree that it should be the mods' job to police them. There are and always will be people who don't realize that spoilers are such a big deal to some of us, therefore there will always eventually be spoilers. Those of us who care the most about a topic are the most likely to be obsessively refreshing a thread about it and therefore see the spoilers before a mod can get to them anyway.

I learned a long time ago that avoiding spoilers was my own job, and that even "safe spaces" are going to sometimes go over the line I've personally drawn as to what constitutes a spoiler. My options are to care less about spoilers (hasn't happened so far) or to deal with sometimes being unable to participate in an active discussion about that thing I love. Beyond this, I have to accept that sometimes I'm going to see a spoiler anyway, even when I think I'm taking all reasonable precautions.
posted by des at 10:13 AM on May 30, 2011


I'm weird in that I prefer to read spoilers before I watch something. I am of the opinion that it is best to stay off threads re a show before you watch it, if you feel otherwise.

(I loved Tennant. He was cute. The new Doctor is tolerable. But Tom Baker rulez forever.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:13 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the thinking is that people just won't be home to watch it

This makes no sense. Where else would all the people who just bought a new mattress be but at home?
posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I haven't watched Who for a long time, because I thought David Tennant was just awful. I mean, bordering on Sylvester McCoy.

SPOILER: Sylvester McCoy was great.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:38 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


How can you spoil Doctor Who episodes? They end in one of two ways:

1) Doctor Who defeats the evil aliens trying to take over Earth; or
2) as above, but Doctor Who dies in the process.

It's hardly a complex drama series. It's like not wanting to know how Schwarzenegger films end.
posted by Jehan at 10:45 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


He turns from a guy you like into a new guy that you hate at first but he's the Doctor so you end up liking him.

Rinse.

Repeat.
posted by Splunge at 10:58 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, no need to be shitty about it, perhaps people are fan of the characters on the show, which have arcs interwoven with the general plot? Sheesh.

I feel for ya Artie. I haven't found my way into a Dr. Who addiction yet, but I end up having to close the browser whenever even the word of something I haven't seen yet is read. Try as I might...
posted by cavalier at 11:00 AM on May 30, 2011


I have not yet finished reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union. I realize there is a time delay between some people who have already finished the novel and me, so nobody say anything and spoil it for me, k?

Also, the mods suck.

How'm I doing?
posted by ericost at 11:02 AM on May 30, 2011


SPOILER ALERT:There will be whining. Loud, constant whining. Over something as unimportant as plot points on a British Sci-fi series not known for it's twist ending.

PROTIP: If knowing what happens in the story "spoils" the story for you then the characters and situations are not well done. Heck, I only decided to watch the whole run of "Life on Mars" because I found out he's in a coma the whole time and at the end decides to kill himself to return to the 60s fantasy world. That's really compelling and now I want to watch to see how he develops those ties, understanding that as the main characters growth in his coma-world parallels the audience's growth and ties to the characters and world.
posted by fuq at 11:06 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I'm sorry. I just have to do it. I can't help myself.

1) Doctor Who the Doctor defeats the evil aliens trying to take over Earth; or
2) as above, but Doctor Who the Doctor dies in the process.


Phew. There. Carry on.
posted by fight or flight at 11:12 AM on May 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


I watched my very first episode of Doctor Who last night (on Netflix streaming, it was from 2005) and I have to ask... are they still that cheesy? with low production values and bad acting? Or did I just pick a dud? I watched a couple episodes of Torchwood (season 2) and thought that was okay, so it's not that I just don't like the genre. Lots of people I know with similar tastes to me like Doctor Who, so I must be doing something wrong.
posted by desjardins at 11:18 AM on May 30, 2011


desjardins, I just got into the new Doctor Who a couple of month ago, and have watched the 5 seasons available on Netflix. IMHO, it gets dramatically better starting with the last few episodes of the first season. I heartily recommend sticking with it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:21 AM on May 30, 2011


God, when "profile" are getting trotted out, truly the conversation is over.
posted by proj at 11:23 AM on May 30, 2011


Damn you, autocorrect! Protips, not profile.
posted by proj at 11:23 AM on May 30, 2011


PROTIP: autocorrect will sometimes change words to other words you don't mean. Watch out!
posted by fuq at 11:25 AM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


And the prize for "Best Channeling Of William Shatner In A Saturday Night Live Appearance" goes to....

EDGEWAYS!
posted by hippybear at 11:26 AM on May 30, 2011


If only we had some kind of spoiler system...

But this is beyond regular spoilers. This would require a flagging system per episode of a series, that also works on mobile devices, and also keeps the site accessible. At what point do we decide something is common enough we don't need to flag it. Do people need to flag comments about Tom Baker episodes in case I haven't watched them on netflix? It's a complicated problem I haven't seen any site handle well.

It's also a huge headache for the mods for something that, as PhoBWanKenobi points out, is not really the intended use of Metafilter. I love the Doctor Who discussions and am very grateful they've turned a blind eye to what are basically huge derails on every Doctor Who thread (some of which hardly qualify as "Best of the Web" in the first place).

Once a thread has gone to discussing the latest episodes, you really just need to stay away if you haven't seen the latest episode. Making it extra work for the mods might make them consider if they want this feature in the first place.
posted by Gary at 11:27 AM on May 30, 2011


desjardins: a few things to realize:

1) The beginning of the Eccleston episodes are pretty typical of any new series -- it's trying to get its feet and figure out what it is. The fact that Doctor Who has a long history to it doesn't really matter with this reboot. It had been off the air for around a decade at that point, and even longer if you ignore the 8th Doctor movie, so it's a bit of a fresh start, and kind of wobbly to begin with.

2) Doctor Who is, at its core, a show which started out as a time traveling "let's explore history, kids" show which then tilted into full-on SF but ALWAYS has remained a family / children's show at its core. So yeah, there's a built-in level of cheese which will continue with the show pretty much always. Torchwood was designed to be shown after the (whatever the UK calls) Safe Harbor hours. Doctor Who is smack in the middle of family television time.

3) When Doctor Who is really on, it's not about the production values, it's about the stories which are being told. The old pre-reboot episodes are really bad. Like old Dark Shadows level of horrible. But the stories are so compelling, all that falls away and your imagination looks beyond the wobbly sets and crappy SFX and you are transported. This is true whether you're a kid or an adult, as long as you can find that place within you that falls into stories.
posted by hippybear at 11:32 AM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love how Doctor Who makes the standard "refer to the main character by the name of the show" joke twice as funny with the reactions it provokes
posted by rollick at 11:39 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


1) the Doctor defeats the evil aliens trying to take over Earth; or
2) as above, but the Doctor dies in the process.


I really like the idea of a generic spoiler for Doctor Who, but this needs expanding. For example:
a) occasionally, it's the companion(s) who do the defeating
b) sometimes the aliens aren't evil at all and it's a big misunderstanding
c) if it's the first episode of a season, setup will occur for an overarching plot which will be mentioned in every episode but not actually progress/develop in any significant way until it is resolved in the season finale.
posted by juv3nal at 11:44 AM on May 30, 2011


Jesus Christ. Since Metafilter isn't generally a place where every thread is filled with constant spoilers of unrelated things, all you have to do is avoid Dr. Who threads.

By the way Thor wins.
posted by graventy at 11:48 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh, also:
d) sometimes Doctor commits genocide
posted by juv3nal at 11:52 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


f) pines for Rose.
posted by stavrogin at 11:56 AM on May 30, 2011


e) is "pines for Rose", too.
posted by stavrogin at 11:56 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


f) decides not to defeat his arch-enemies because they deserve their chance too.
posted by alasdair at 12:05 PM on May 30, 2011


The boat sinks. It's a sled. It's people. The wife did it. It's actually future earth.
posted by Justinian at 12:06 PM on May 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Hi, just a quick reminder that Doctor Who is now being shown on BBC America one week behind the UK, not same day as it was previously, and that though general Metafilter policy is pretty hands-off regarding spoilers it would be great if you could avoid posting any them in any open who Threads that are not directly about current episodes, as not everyone is torrenting it, cheers.

OK, if we're going to be pedantic prescriptivists, this is neither a run-on sentence nor a comma splice. It's a sentence fragment, which is perfectly permissible in informal writing situations.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:07 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Edgeways: IT'S A FUCKING TV SHOW

Is this something I would need a fucking TV to understand?
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:13 PM on May 30, 2011


The obvious solution is for many users to also post fake spoilers. People who've seen the episode will know which ones are real; everyone else will not.
posted by NoraReed at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Rosebud was a giraffe.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:16 PM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


By the way Thor wins.

Hammer beats screwdriver?

Or maybe it'll turn out that the Corsair's Ouroboros tattoo was a warning that Jörmungandr is waking up and only by combing forces can Thor and the Doctor prevent Ragnarök. Crossover!
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I stopped watching the New Who a long time ago. Artw though... For a moment there I considered torrenting new episodes just so I could post spoilers for your benefit. I quickly realised that the implications were too horrible to imagine, but all things considered I think you best give up on this one.
posted by Chuckles at 12:25 PM on May 30, 2011


Doctor Who is something that I need a Gateways to Geekery for. I like the idea, but the new ones have so many people I know talking about how they relate to the overall series, and when they were airing some of the old ones on PBS, they seemed pretty incomprehensible with their own continuity… It's something that I'd like to investigate, but it seems more daunting than Lil Wayne's mixtape oeuvre.
posted by klangklangston at 12:25 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm with klangklangston. I'm normally not much of a sci-fi fan, so I've always more or less ignored Doctor Who. But I've started watching at the beginning of the Matt Smith era (he's #11 right?), and I actually enjoy it quite a bit. I'm picking up bits and pieces of the mythos, etc. But I have no idea how to begin to dig deeper. Do I start with Tennant? Go all the way back to Tom Baker? What? A Gateways to Geekery would be a huge help.
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:29 PM on May 30, 2011


Crossover!

Not Thor, but comic/doctor Who crossovers:

Spacetime's Finest #1 and #2
posted by maqsarian at 12:31 PM on May 30, 2011


But I have no idea how to begin to dig deeper. Do I start with Tennant?

No, you start with Doctor 9, Christopher Eccleston, from 2005. That's where the reboot started, that's where a lot of people started watching Doctor Who because it had been off the air for so long that there was basically an entire group of children who had grown up never seeing it. It's enough of a clean start that it has all kinds of entry points for new viewers. And the contrast between Eccleston and Tennant as the Doctor is worthy and interesting.

The nice thing about Doctor Who is, it's a show about time travel, and it has basically no continuity aside from very broad strokes. So once you get your bearings you can go back and watch earlier episodes without really missing much or whatever.

But yeah. Start with 9.
posted by hippybear at 12:54 PM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


A pig eats him at the end, then he regenerates.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:59 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


On Gateways to Geekery - they've actually done it pretty well. There are lots of Easter eggs in the new series for fans of the old, but they also play pretty fast and loose with the old continuity. The easiest way to think about the first eight doctors is to assume that all their televised/TV Movie-ized adventures are stories told by a later incarnation, who is an unreliable narrator, ands that everything got messed up and rewritten to a greater or lesser extent by the Time War anyway.

It's also worth noting, although not clear to the new viewer, that the single biggest event in terms of the backstory of New Who - the Time War - took place offstage.

So, I think you can actually start on series 1 of New Who without having to worry too much about backstory: Basically, to watch any old who, all you really need is:

There is an ancient race of incredibly powerful beings - the Time Lords - who originate and live on the planet Gallifrey. Variously involved in the events of the universe throughout the history of the universe, they now operate a code of non-interference, although the temptation offered by their advanced technology occasionally encourages one of them to head off and become lord of a primitive planet, or try to take over the universe. The Time Lords are generally at best decadent and at worst a bunch of total douchebags, who claim to have evolved past the affairs of younger races but cannot help but sneer, dick with or annihilate other species.

One such renegade, The Doctor, travels space and time in a TARDIS, turning up in a variety of historical periods on Earth and alien worlds. At different times he is written as having greater or lesser status in Gallifreyan society, being in more or less self-imposed exile and possessing a more or less chilly relationship with the powers that be on Gallifrey. At certain points he is limited to Earth, or limited in his ability to travel in time. His control over the TARDIS is at best stochastic, and he will frequently appear in the wrong place or time.

Time Lords are able to regenerate - canonically, their reincarnations are limited to twelve, or in extreme circumstances thirteen, but this may have been rewritten, either by the events of the Time War or by showrunner fiat. Essentially, if a Time Lord dies, they then get up in a new body, with a variation on their core personality.

The bad guys are numerous, but the most persistent menaces are the Daleks, a race of murderous calimari in robot battlesuits, the Cybermen, a race of knock-off Daleks, and the Master, another of those rogue Time Lords and the closest thing to a Xanatos the mythos has. The Doctor finds himself regularly opposing these forces. He is assisted by a rotating cast of assistants recruited from various times and planets - often attractive young women - and by UNIT, a special forces division in 20th century Earth dedicated to protecting the planet from extra-terrestrial threats, led by the imperturbable Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.


That should provide the framework for pretty much any episode of old Who. For New Who, if you take that and watch Rose, End of the World, Dalek, The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways, that gives you everything you need on the Time War and the reboot of the Daleks, and gives you as much Captain Jack Harkness as you'd need to get Torchwood, if you felt so inclined. All you need to know otherwise is that between Dalek and The Empty Child the Doctor visits a space station dedicated to TV programming and between The Doctor Dances and Bad Wolf he gets hold of a futuristic surfboard. Yes, really.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


The boat sinks. It's a sled. It's people. The wife did it. It's actually future earth.

I'm having fun imagining all these as Doctor-Who-specific spoilers. That last one's actually a little too easy, though.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think people are overthinking the technical aspects of spoiler hiding code. If it's a spoiler, hide the text. You can determine if its a spoiler with a tag, or by looking for the word spoiler in the comment. It'll never be perfect, but it'll be good enough to allow people to discuss stuff without causing grief.
posted by seanyboy at 1:04 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The amy stuff doesn't bother me. I was more surprised by the Rory/Jack Harkness implications. Like, did Jack KNOW Rory would travel with the Doc some day? Is that why he hooked up with him?

Or, wait, when they say in the past, was it PLASTIC Rory that hooked up with Jack, sometime during their mutual 'exile' on past earth catching up til now?

Whatever, we'll know next week I hope.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 1:09 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just don't tell me if Billy Elliot makes his dreams come true.
posted by Trurl at 1:15 PM on May 30, 2011


America should have caught up enough by now to discuss how the Doctor wanted to have sex with the anthropomorphised TARDIS, right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh god, I'm sorry. I just have to do it. I can't help myself.

1) Doctor Who the Doctor defeats the evil aliens trying to take over Earth; or
2) as above, but Doctor Who the Doctor dies in the process.

Phew. There. Carry on.


Haha, it's okay. I haven't actually watched more than a couple of episodes since the 80s, so he's obviously had a deed poll since then.
posted by Jehan at 1:24 PM on May 30, 2011


SNAPE KILLS DOCTOR WHO
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:33 PM on May 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


If you haven't been watching lately I recommend the episode penned by N. Gaiman. It was quite inventive.

Amy Pond is quite a good companion.
posted by Bonzai at 1:33 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The week delay for the Memorial Day weekend smells like another one of those old marketing "givens" that crop-up all the time. They are blindly accepted as unerring truth handed-down by the marketing gods, and are never questioned. This one runs like this..."Since Memorial day is a three-day weekend, everyone will take the opportunity to travel. So, we should not air new shows, since the no one will be home to watch."

There's a whole world of marketing "givens" that need to be shot and buried.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:43 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's hardly a complex drama series. It's like not wanting to know how Schwarzenegger films end.

GET TO DA TARDIS!
posted by Hoopo at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


The week delay for the Memorial Day weekend smells like another one of those old marketing "givens" that crop-up all the time.

I'm not sure how the BBC works, but if delaying the episode has to do with a perceived loss in ad revenue, here's a suggestion. Create a petition, web page or do something to show the BBC that they're leaving money on the table by delaying the episode in the States. A petition would probably be best, with the person's name, a valid contact email and location in the states and any other important demographic information. Does anyone know what that would be? Is there an off the shelf CMS or website that'll do this for free?

I don't have a dog in this, but if ya'll really want to change this, ya'll need to do something get the BBC's attention. No, invading England is not an option, that was just a Chuck Norris movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2011


I feel Artw's pain but don't see any good solution. It seems unworkably imperialist to insist that nobody outside the US discuss the episode they've just seen. But yet it makes the Who threads essentially unvisitable for those of us in the US.

I'm doing the"stay out of the thread until you've watched it" thing; but the pain now is that by the time I have watched it another new episode will have aired in the UK. And on it goes until the midseason break.

(I guess the real solution is: torrent the bloody thing. Way to go, BBCA.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


DR WHO IS REALLY A MAN
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:10 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel Artw's pain but don't see any good solution. It seems unworkably imperialist to insist that nobody outside the US discuss the episode they've just seen. But yet it makes the Who threads essentially unvisitable for those of us in the US

I think Artw's intention was to remind Mefites that people in the States had not seen the Doctor Who episode yet and if possible, could people avoid openly talking about until next week. But then he screwed that up by being dickish, so I'm expecting Doctor Who spoilers to pop up any minute now. Possibly because I thought about doing that. But I'm in the states, sooo...yeah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:11 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter is not your private TV show discussion forum. Please don't treat it as though it is. Many of us don't even care about TV in general, much less protecting you from spoilers about an inconsequential fictional show.

Artw? You're seriously coming across with so much grar, insult and jerkiness in this post that I literally want to torrent and watch this new Dr. Who for the first time in my life just so I can spam you with spoilers. Thankfully for both of us I really don't give a shit about either Dr. Who or spoilers and I have better things to do with my time like contemplate my navel.

You insulted the mods. You've insulted everyone who doesn't immediately agree with you. This is not how you have a mature or intelligent discussion.

If this is how seriously you want/need to take your TV shows and the internet maybe you should take a break from one or both of them. If I was a mod here I'd probably be giving you a week off just to cool your heels and hopefully regain some perspective - especially if I had been insulted the way you just insulted the mods.

Obviously they have thicker skin and they're more patient than I am. You should probably thank them for that at some point.
posted by loquacious at 2:11 PM on May 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


I don't have a dog in this, but if ya'll really want to change this, ya'll need to do something get the BBC's attention. No, invading England is not an option, that was just a Chuck Norris movie.

Complain to BBC America's advertisers then, especially the ones that air during the show (live or on demand).
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:12 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: This isn't a G2G, but is pretty damn close to it. Enjoy!

Anyway, the problem here is partially that with every new episode, fans are going to want to talk about it here, but MeFi isn't really made for that, and so one of us will, without fail, find something DW-related to post on the blue as thin pretense to have a conversation about the latest episode. See: The Impossible Astronaut. Day of the Moon. The Almost People. I know I did it myself with the season 5 finale here.

These will always be about some other aspect of the show but we know what we're doing. So we flock to the thread to talk about the episode and then people who haven't gotten to see it yet get angry about the spoilers because, strictly speaking, the FPP wasn't about the episode, come on guys. No spoilers.

It'd be awesome if Metachat or somewhere had a place better-suited for this, and that people knew to go there. That'd probably be the best solution.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:13 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy: Here's what I would do if I was a fan of some TV show ( I'm not) and didn't want to have it spoiled by unwanted information. I wouldn't read threads about it, until I'd watched it. I'm crazy that way.

What ?? Exercise self-control and self-discipline? Inconceivable !

I think it has to work both ways as well. People shouldn't post spoilery stuff into threads not marked or are obvious as such. But if the thread clearly is about a particular episode (which the O.P that this Meta is talking about was not actually) and you haven't watched that episode (whether tagged as spoilery or not) then maybe you shouldn't look into the thread. Just as a general rule. Because shit happens on the Internet and we all ought to know that by now.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:32 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer: "It'd be awesome if Metachat or somewhere had a place better-suited for this, and that people knew to go there. That'd probably be the best solution."

I would totally love to talk Who (and all sorts of other stuff) with Mefi people, since it has the best generalist user base of anything anywhere, but I haven't been so much because of spoiler issues. If the admins on Metachat don't mind an invasion I would love love love to pile over there to talk Who. It seems like a better venue, especially since you don't have to come up with an excuse to make a new Who FPP when the old one times out every time.

I've registered an account over there anyway ok I already had one but I never used it and it was in a different name to my mefi account which was just daft.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:45 PM on May 30, 2011


But yeah. Start with 9.

(Sorry if this is offtopic, but it might be useful...)

And, fortunately, since the three Tennant seasons essentially resolve almost everything they introduce, you can largely skip them, or at least start with the good ones and then watch more if you want to. Which means, in conjunction with that AV Club primer and assuming someone wants to get the most out of the Smith Doctor without spending too much time on backstory, roughly:

Season 2: School Reunion and The Idiot's Lantern are good - and then, if you want to follow the plot strands of Torchwood, Rose and the Ood, who all become somewhat important later, the three two-parters (Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel, The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit and Army of Ghosts and Doomsday).

Season 3: Human Nature, The Family of Blood and Blink are the good ones, and Blink introduces a recurring monster. The plot-important ones are probably the first episode (to introduce Martha Jones) and the last three (which are also pretty good, until the ending at least, and the launchpad for Torchwood, if you want to get into that hot mess).

Series 4 and the specials in lieu of a season: Actually pretty easy to skip, on the grounds that they mainly reintroduce and tie off all the dangling plot threads from the preceding seasons, to leave the ground clear for Steven Moffat to take over as showrunner. Basically, the Doctor is reunited with everyone he's ever met previously, a series of fan-pleasing elements from Old Who are introduced and dispatched, the companions so far are pensioned off, and Tennant leaves the series. It's probably worth doing Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead for the introduction of a recurring character, and "Midnight" is a largely acontextual one-room drama - not necessary, but fun. The whole end of the Tennant run is better done in summary than by watching the specials, if you're in a hurry. So, thinking about it, you can probably get what you need for the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat run in about 10-12 episodes of the 50 or so episodes produced up to that point, and then google anything that still doesn't make sense.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:02 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you haven't been watching lately I recommend the episode penned by N. Gaiman. It was quite inventive.

If by "inventive" you mean, "based on a nonsensical premise which had no precedent in the show and then proceeded to be mostly confusing and a lot boring", then I agree with you.

Cute story. Not really a Doctor Who story by any stretch. It felt false and forced from the opening scene.
posted by hippybear at 3:02 PM on May 30, 2011


nonsensical premise which had no precedent in the show

Considering the first words ever said in reference to the TARDIs were "It's alive!," I'm not sure I'd agree, but I'll grant you it's at least debatable.

To add on to running order's comments, I'd add Waters of Mars, both cause it's good on its own, and I think that the Time Lord Victorious adds a lot to the death of Ten and circumstances of same.

(Truly though, I say watch the whole Tennant run. It's often quite good, if INSANELY uneven, and I feel the accurate complaint that he's far too messianic for the Doctor is nicely wrapped up with the aforementioned TLV moment, which makes it all worthwhile and explains nicely why Eleven reverts back to a more traditional interpretation.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:18 PM on May 30, 2011


Navelgazer: “klangklangston: This isn't a G2G, but is pretty damn close to it. Enjoy!”

from link: “When it was finally allowed to die in 1989, the show had become gratingly ham-fisted and nonsensical.”

Trenchant bullshit. I refuse to dignify this heresy with a proper response, as it deserves none.
posted by koeselitz at 3:22 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're not giving nearly enough credit to the late McCoy years, not by a long shot, but I think a lot of it is solid observation, as long as the reader takes it as one well-thought opinion that other people just as invested may disagree with, perhaps strongly. For myself, having just encouraged people to watch the full Tennant run above, I rather like the way they address this part of the era:
When Eccleston left after just one season, David Tennant picked up the reins and took off. His Tenth Doctor was cocky, hyperactive, charming, and just plain fun—the very essence, in his best moments, of who The Doctor should be. Davies’ revival had its weaknesses, but they only became apparently over time. The mawkish melodramatics, the overuse of the deus ex machina ending, the ludicrous need to make each successive season end with a bigger, badder all-encompassing cosmic threat, and the inability to let his favorite characters get off the stage when their stories were over—these were real problems, but they shouldn’t take away from his most impressive accomplishment. He made time go forward again.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:27 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh. Yeah, it's a pretty good article, actually. I can sniff in my fanboy way about that and a few other details (it's "time and relative DIMENSION in space," dammit - singular!) but it's really a nice overview. I'm actually really enjoying it.
posted by koeselitz at 3:35 PM on May 30, 2011


koeselitz: (it's "time and relative DIMENSION in space," dammit - singular!)
Cite? I was fairly sure it was the plural...?
posted by coriolisdave at 3:46 PM on May 30, 2011


They've used both throughout the run of the show, but the singular was used first and most consistently.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:49 PM on May 30, 2011


I wish people would stop getting so angry when people asked not to be spoiled, especially since the last time we had this discussion it was ruled 'spoilers are fine as long as you don't be a dick and spoil when people ask not to be spoiled.' I mean, as people've said above, this isn't your big television liveblogging sort of site; you shouldn't use it as such and assume everyone's as into television as you and watch things as soon as it happens. That's just not what Metafilter is generally for!
posted by flatluigi at 3:52 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now you know what it feels like to live in Australia, at least where Who is concerned.
You know what would fix this? SPOILER TAGS
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:54 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


me: “(it's "time and relative DIMENSION in space," dammit - singular!)”

coriolisdave: “Cite? I was fairly sure it was the plural...?”

Ah. I had no idea there was some controversy about this, but apparently there is.

It was singular in the first episode when Susan first explained what "TARDIS" stood for, and that's the use I always think of (and the one I was thinking of when I said that). Apparently, however, there have been moments in novelizations and even the series when the plural has been used, though both Nine and Ten made the decision to use the singular.

See this footnote to the Wikipedia article on the TARDIS.
posted by koeselitz at 4:01 PM on May 30, 2011


So, my fellow Americans have to shut the hell up about what happens in every other show because it may take a few weeks to air overseas, right?

A few weeks? I wish I was that lucky. They're finally airing Sons of Anarchy here, and I've just started. They JUST aired the Lovecraft South Park episodes. And I can't torrent everything because of bandwidth limits!
The week delay for Doctor Who is the best we get.

SPOILER TAGS
(I'd also supported armed military intervention into Aus to fix the above)
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:03 PM on May 30, 2011


I think 'anger' was entirely one-sided... and not the side you think it is. Strong discussion, sure, but only one person seemed angry to me, and it wasn't the ones asked.

If you want to avoid Doctor Who spoilers because you are, for whatever reason in or out of your control, behind on Doctor Who, stay out of Doctor Who threads. Feel free to replace 'Doctor Who' with your media of choice. When Doctor Who is spoiled in a non-Doctor Who thread, then you have every right to be angry, but until then, it's just common sense.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:04 PM on May 30, 2011


(Just like I still haven't gotten around to watching the end of the last season of Being Human (UK), though it's been sitting on my hard drive forever, and I have no idea if it's aired here properly or not. And you know, I would avoid a Being Human thread until I get to it. Because I have self-control and the aforementioned common sense.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:07 PM on May 30, 2011


In short, its a pain in the butt feature to add, for only a small group of folks who want to treat this place like it's TVSquad chat forum, and so the feature would have to be turned off by default for logged in folks.

Not just TV shows. We've got threads on games like Portal and LA Noire that can easily get spoiled.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:09 PM on May 30, 2011


Crikey, I couldn't possibly count the number of threads I simply didn't read, because any fool could predict they'd include discussion of something I didn't want spoiled. To expect everyone else in a wide open forum to behave according to some arbitrary ideal (arbitrary because, for example, most people are likely to agree that avoiding spoilers for every country that has access to MeFi is equivalent to never discussing things at all -- and once you allow that it becomes a matter of degree) because you don't know how to do this is the mark of someone either not experienced with online forums (which predate the web by a LOT) or someone simply unwilling to learn from that experience.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:30 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would it be possible to implement a spoiler system entirely on the spoilee side by applying a simple time offset to the pages served? Like Artw could type "7 days" in a box on his preferences page, and Metafilter would only serve posts and comments once they were 7 days old?

This way each user could set their own limit to protect themselves from whatever it is they don't want spoiled, without the onus being put on other members of the site to consider their needs.
posted by nowonmai at 5:34 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If by "inventive" you mean, "based on a nonsensical premise which had no precedent in the show and then proceeded to be mostly confusing and a lot boring", then I agree with you.


Just because you didn't understand it doesn't mean it was nonsensical.
posted by Bonzai at 5:44 PM on May 30, 2011


Would it be possible to implement a spoiler system entirely on the spoilee side by applying a simple time offset to the pages served? Like Artw could type "7 days" in a box on his preferences page, and Metafilter would only serve posts and comments once they were 7 days old?

That wouldn't work because most threads aren't time-critical.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:01 PM on May 30, 2011


Would it be possible to implement a spoiler system entirely on the spoilee side by applying a simple time offset to the pages served? Like Artw could type "7 days" in a box on his preferences page, and Metafilter would only serve posts and comments once they were 7 days old?

That sort of thing could in principle be done client side with e.g. a greasemonkey script, by hiding content based on timestamps. I'm not sure it'd be all that practical, but a greasy person could probably make it happen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:41 PM on May 30, 2011


Objecting to being spoiled before the show has aired anywhere would be understandable, but your spoilers are only spoilers outside the UK... so, welcome to my world! As Mr Pond would say.
posted by Coaticass at 6:57 PM on May 30, 2011


I still have not decided if I am going to read some Lost spoilers.
It might be neat to know whatever happened to that show,
but what if do I ever decide that I want finish watching it?
I probably will not, because that show infuriates my with all off it's terrible infuriating problems, but there was a good mystery with robots and ghost mangos and whatever.
I do want to know whatever about that polar bear.
That is not a place where polar bears live.
I think I wall just not read about Lost on the internet, and it will not be an issue until some guy at the bar tells me. (I think this has happened several times already, but that is ok because I tend to be too drunk by the time I am talking to strangers about Lost at the bar.)

Anyhow, more on topic,
this is what happens when Daleks fight Cybermen.
posted by St. Sorryass at 6:57 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is a spoiler if you don't already know that Daleks are much better at talking shit then Cybermen.
posted by St. Sorryass at 6:58 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, what? Are you telling me it turns out that Susan Foreman's grandfather is really some kind of time-traveling alien?

Thanks a pantload for spoiling it for me. Bastards.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:01 PM on May 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


SPOILERS!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Every one of these threads needs a giant River Song 'Spoilers, sweetie!' image
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:32 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't mind being spoiled, but my threshold for spoilage is about 43%. And it needs to be the front 43%. 44%? No way. That's going to be rounded up to 45% and most sensible people would call that "about half", and nobody's going to choke down just the rubbishy shit half of a shit cupcake and then look at the nice cupcake half and go "eh, I'm pretty full", so why bother? I guess what I'm saying is that you could just go and get some normal cupcakes, I don't know why you're fooling about with these shit cupcakes, what the hell's wrong with you?
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:58 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


When considering Doctor Who spoilers, please keep in mind that Australia is at least 500 years behind the rest of the world.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 10:01 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


if i look at the trailers, can i post a summary of findings?
posted by clavdivs at 10:02 PM on May 30, 2011


When considering Doctor Who spoilers, please keep in mind that Australia is at least 500 years behind the rest of the world yt .

Sometimes I feel a bit like Doctor Who. I've landed on a planet with deadly native animals and bizarre, low-budget technology.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:24 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Costello: I just saw a great Science Fiction show.
Abbot: Really? I like Science Fiction tell me about it.
C: It was about a guy that travels through time and can save the world.
A: That sounds great. Tell me more.
C: It's about this Doctor fellow, he's really cool. He can do anything.
A: That's great. What's the Doctor's name?
C: Doctor Who.
A: The Doctor.
C: Doctor Who.
A: The guy on the show.
C:Doctor Who.
A: Who is the Doctor?
C: That's right.
A: What's right?
C: The Doctor.
A: Doctor Right?
C: No the Doctor is Who.
A:That's what I'm asking you!
C: That's what I'm telling you!
posted by Splunge at 10:48 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


If knowing what happens in the story "spoils" the story for you then the characters and situations are not well done.

I'd like to see some evidence of this, please. Suspense and surprise aren't necessary for every story, but they're an enjoyable aspect of many. Knowing the meaning of Rosebud doesn't change much about Citizen Kane, but knowing who Keyser Soze is makes watching The Usual Suspects a rather different experience and you interpret several characters very differently. I like being able to watch something without knowing the ending, and then if it's very good, watch it again to look for details that can be interpreted differently now.
posted by harriet vane at 12:28 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


A wise friend of mine who knew more about movies than I ever will explained it to me this way once:

If you show up late to a terrible movie and sit down halfway through, knowing nothing about the setup, it ruins nothing – the movie is just as terrible as it would have been even if you'd sat through the first half.

If you show up late to a good movie and sit down halfway through, the whole balance is thrown off – you've missed the setup, you've missed all kinds of important plot details, you don't know where things are going, and so, being lost, your experience is ruined.

If you show up late to a great movie and sit down halfway through, it doesn't matter. Nothing is ruined, because the moments you do get are just as full and rewarding as they would have been if you'd seen the setup; and while you want to see it again to get the rest of it, you know, even without having seen the first half, that this is a great movie.

I think that was an intelligent way to break it down, and I think it's about the same with spoilers. If we're talking about a great movie or TV show, one that is of the highest caliber, it really doesn't matter if you get it spoiled for you. But most movies or TV shows worth watching are good – and often it matters deeply to the story if you know what's going to happen. And that's okay. There's room in the world for both types of things.

fuq is right on a certain level, but I don't think it extends so far.

fuq: “Heck, I only decided to watch the whole run of ‘Life on Mars’ because I found out he's in a coma the whole time and at the end decides to kill himself to return to the 60s fantasy world. That's really compelling and now I want to watch to see how he develops those ties, understanding that as the main characters growth in his coma-world parallels the audience's growth and ties to the characters and world.”

I would be annoyed with you for spoiling this for other people, but what's weird is that that's not a spoiler. It's not really a spoiler if you confront this possibility in the first five freaking minutes of the show. Seriously, did you honestly think that the possibility that he was in a coma the whole time wasn't broached until the last episode? That was the tension of the whole series.

Also, you should see the American version. The ending is better. Yes, better. Although I suppose you may as well just go look it up on Wikipedia or something if you like.
posted by koeselitz at 12:50 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


PROTIP: If knowing what happens in the story "spoils" the story for you then the characters and situations are not well done. Heck, I only decided to watch the whole run of "Life on Mars" because I found out he's in a coma the whole time and at the end decides to kill himself to return to the 60s fantasy world. That's really compelling and now I want to watch to see how he develops those ties, understanding that as the main characters growth in his coma-world parallels the audience's growth and ties to the characters and world.

Wow... not only is this statement annoying, you also decided to include unmarked spoilers for a recent British scif-fi-ish series that shares several actors with Doctor Who (loved the Life on Mars guy in the most recent episode). Congratulations on being a smug asshole!

Not everything I watch or consume is Great Literature That Furthers The Development of My Full Human Faculties. Sometimes I just want to watch Doctor Who or Supernatural or Fringe, and those shows rely heavily on PLOT. A TV show spoiled something that happened in the first few minutes of a Supernatural episode, which took away from the moment when that was revealed to the characters and the audience. Someone on another forum spoiled the telegraphed twist of a series of LA Noire missions, which removed the pleasure I'd get in figuring them out.

All that stuff you talked about? That's what a second viewing is for. I'm sure that after the big ending revelation of this Doctor Who it'll be fun to rewatch all the episodes knowing who Eyepatch Lady is and what the Doctor's grand plan is. But it's even more fun to NOT KNOW those things.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:52 AM on May 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


I would be annoyed with you for spoiling this for other people, but what's weird is that that's not a spoiler. It's not really a spoiler if you confront this possibility in the first five freaking minutes of the show. Seriously, did you honestly think that the possibility that he was in a coma the whole time wasn't broached until the last episode? That was the tension of the whole series.

He spoiled what Sam Tyler DID with that knowledge. That's pretty big.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:54 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


knowing who Keyser Soze is makes watching The Usual Suspects a rather different experience

That's exactly why I have never gotten around to watching The Usual Suspects: I read a spoiler and realized the movie wasn't worth a shit if you went in knowing the surprise ending. But that was my fault. I held off for a long time, until it was actually out on DVD, for Christ's sake -- long, long, long after anyone anywhere could worry about letting the cat out of the bag. So I spoiled it for myself and have nothing to complain about.

Another way to spoil it for yourself is to read online discussions about things you supposedly don't want to know about. Newspaper and television movie reviews are mainly written by people who get to see the show early so they can help people who haven't seen the movie decide whether it's worth it. They shouldn't and usually don't have spoilers. Online discussions, however, fill up with regular folk who have already seen the movie and would now like to talk about it. For them, the discussion spoiler is when someone comes in and tells them they are not allowed to talk about the movie they came here to talk about unless they actually talk around everything or speak in some Boy Scouts code.

If spoilers matter to you, don't spoil the movie for yourself and don't try to spoil the discussion for people who have seen the movie: stay out of the Bambi thread until you've seen Bambi.

[Psst! His mother dies!]
posted by pracowity at 1:09 AM on May 31, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: “He spoiled what Sam Tyler DID with that knowledge. That's pretty big.”

Yeah, true. On the other hand, he's also wrong. That's not what happened to Sam Tyler in the end at all. And if he'd watched Ashes to Ashes, he'd know that.
posted by koeselitz at 1:24 AM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


koselitz I have nothing but great respect for you. But your "friend" is wrong. Even bad movies will have a narrative. And perhaps your friend might do him/her self a favor by watching any film from the beginning. Coming in at the middle of a film is doing a disservice to the creator of the film regardless of what the "friend" might think of the quality of the film.

The flow is broken. Perhaps your friend might arrive early enough to see the whole instead of judging the film by the fragment or the pre-conceived notion?
posted by Splunge at 1:52 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Protip: If your memory turns to mush like mine, spoilers don't matter because about ten minutes after you read them they're gone forever.
posted by maxwelton at 2:19 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Life on Mars is recent now? It's got an American knock off already...
posted by pompomtom at 2:45 AM on May 31, 2011


koselitz I have nothing but great respect for you. But your "friend" is wrong. Even bad movies will have a narrative.

Can you be wrong about a preference? Sure, I'd prefer to see the thing from the start, but if I miss the first half hour or so, that doesn't spoil my enjoyment. I'll just catch it later.

Same thing goes for spoilers. Shit, I'd guessed who Kaiser Sose was long before the end of the Usual Suspects anyway. For me, what's enjoyable is the journey, not so much the arriving. The fact that I've been there before

And perhaps your friend might do him/her self a favor by watching any film from the beginning. Coming in at the middle of a film is doing a disservice to the creator of the film regardless of what the "friend" might think of the quality of the film.

Nobody should ever dip into a soap opera unless they've watched it from the very first episode. They'd be doing a disservice to the creators of Days Of Our Lives, regardless of what they might think of the quality of the product.

Life on Mars is recent now?

Over five years old.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:04 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could people please submit to my office a list of what I can talk about and when. For instance, if you are yet to have lunch I will not talk about that sandwich you are going to eat. Thank you for helping me help you.
posted by oxford blue at 4:24 AM on May 31, 2011


Thank you for reminding me to torrent Doctor Who.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:09 AM on May 31, 2011


If knowing what happens in the story "spoils" the story for you then the characters and situations are not well done.

What rubbish. People who think this way must have something missing in their artistic appreciation equipment. Have they never, ever experienced the singular emotional jolt that comes from an unexpected turn of events in a story? These are often the most moving and memorable experiences we have in movies, books etc. That is what gets spoiled by revealing significant plot details, and we hate you for doing it.

Mind you, Doctor Who is a bloody kid's programme, and not a particularly good one any more, so who cares?

*ducks*
posted by Decani at 5:37 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's an example of a great movie that wouldn't be less good if I only started watching it halfway through? And how does it relate to knowing the ending before you begin, since it's about missing the beginning?

The Life on Mars example might work - I don't know because I haven't watched it. I also knew that the main character was in a coma. But that's what made me less inclined to watch it. I don't get the fun of speculating about whether it's a coma or something else. I don't get to explore the possibilities because they've already been locked down for me. No imagination required, just consumption. I've got a limited amount of time to spend watching TV and reading books, and having one I enjoy spoiled for me is pretty fucking annoying.

I don't mind staying out of threads discussing stuff I want to watch or read later. It's what I've always done, although a) living in Australia makes it harder to keep up with new stuff and b) having international friends online makes the list of sites I have to avoid much longer.

But I do mind the implication that I've got bad taste in media because I enjoy plot as well as characterisation. It's ridiculous, and honestly I don't think it can be supported as a logical conclusion.
posted by harriet vane at 5:48 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The theory that we should avoid deliberately giving out spoilers is fine in theory. What's seemed to be asked for in practice is that the rest of the world should not talk about a programme until it has aired in the United States leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. It's been pointed out that Dr Who airs in Australia some months behind the UK. Are we supposed to wait for that? And what about US shows which can be shown in the rest of the world months later?

It seems to me that there are only two sensible suggestions - we ban all potential spoiler discussion of all TV programmes and movies, or we accept that spoilers are going to happen so if you don't want to read them, don't enter the thread. What I can't accept is one rule for the Americans and another rule for the rest of us.
posted by salmacis at 6:28 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


What rubbish. People who think this way must have something missing in their artistic appreciation equipment. Have they never, ever experienced the singular emotional jolt that comes from an unexpected turn of events in a story? These are often the most moving and memorable experiences we have in movies, books etc. That is what gets spoiled by revealing significant plot details, and we hate you for doing it.

Sure, I've been pleasantly surprised by plot twists. But I've also been unpleasantly surprised by them (hi, Lost), to the point where if I'd known what was coming, I would have also known not to dedicate my time to it. And I've also watched television shows or movies where the plot twists are just another layer of a narrative--where knowing twists can, in fact, enrich viewing because you can see how those surprises were set up.

Weak media dependent on plot twists is often not just ruined by spoilers, but also by perceptive viewing. I guessed the twist of The Sixth Sense, for example, a few minutes in, and it made most of the rest of the movie ring hollow. What was I supposed to do, not notice the very abundantly obvious clues M. Night had seeded throughout the movie? Or not be familiar with the wealth of Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes and Goosebumps books he was obviously ripping off? I think the difference between shallow, gimmick-dependent writing and truly quality writing is that the latter will have enough going on that it can withstand both spoilers and perceptive consumption.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:32 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, you should see the American version. The ending is better. Yes, better. Although I suppose you may as well just go look it up on Wikipedia or something if you like.

Also, yay, someone else who thinks this. Loved the US ending.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm always baffled by spoiler warnings. Or the concept. I was told the end of "The Sixth Sense" before I went. I bet I enjoyed that movie as much as the next guy. I thought "The Wire" was better on my second viewing, and there pretty much was nothing left unspoiled that time around.

I know people who will refuse to read books or see shows unless they know it has a happy ending. They flip right to the last pages of a book to see if it's worth reading. My girlfriend is like this to a degree. If the movie ends on a "bad" note she considers it a waste of time.

I jumped online to find out who the "Final Five" were because I was tired of BSG dragging it out. Nothing worthwhile has happened in the last two seasons of "Smallville," so I can't imagine the four episodes I have left will be any different. "Breakout Kings"? They catch the guy.

I just don't find shows that surprising and even if I know I have the same enjoyment. I doubt I'd even consider certain things as spoilers that other people would. I'm really trying to come up with a show, book, or movie that was ruined because I knew the ending and I am failing.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:46 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found out the end of The Sixth Sense thanks to some lecture notes. Before it was on video! A-boo.

Anyway, USians now know how I feel about MadMen spoilers. Indeed, one comment calling out a blogger on putting spoilers in a post even then mentioned the very big plot twist at the end of Season One (you know, the one that came out of nowhere).

Mind you, I've just started watching Northern Exposure, so you probably shouldn;'t listen to me.
posted by mippy at 6:54 AM on May 31, 2011


Heck, I only decided to watch the whole run of "Life on Mars" because I found out he's in a coma the whole time and at the end decides to kill himself to return to the 60s fantasy world.
YES THANKS FOR THAT

(ps: it's the 1970s, isn't it? Only seen the factory ep so far.)
posted by mippy at 6:59 AM on May 31, 2011


I am very much against spoilers[1] -- I won't even look up the names of actors on shows I am watching after they have aired (not an episode later, a season or two later) because I do not want to find out if/when they leave the show. (Yes: this is insane. But I have found when I do start looking things up, I end up looking up the entire plot of the show/movie/etc, and then get annoyed with myself. Best not to start at all.) So I am very sympathetic to spoilerphobes, and hate when they show up in unexpected places (note: a discussion about spoiler policy in general is not unexpected, though it's sort of odd to do: "Hey, you people who hate spoilers? Here are a bunch of spoilers for unexpected shows! Surprise!").

But it's really easy to stay spoiler-free. I managed it for Mad Men (except the twist at the end of this last season, as it showed up in a headline about local actors). I managed it for the Wire, BSG, all of DW[2]/TW except this current season of DW which I am watching as it airs, Breaking Bad, many individual episodes of Lost, other shows I cannot think of offhand. It's really jerky to spoil generically, but discussion of the newest episode of X in a thread about X on metafilter, where all threads about X become episode chats?


[1] I did mock people who complained about spoilers for that Romeo & Juliet movie in the 90s, and Jane Eyre this year.
[2] I knew that people were really pissed about what happened to Donna, but I did not know what happened to her.
posted by jeather at 7:06 AM on May 31, 2011


USians now know how I feel about MadMen spoilers.

About the same as I feel about the term "USian"?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


That's exactly why I have never gotten around to watching The Usual Suspects: I read a spoiler and realized the movie wasn't worth a shit if you went in knowing the surprise ending. But that was my fault. I held off for a long time, until it was actually out on DVD, for Christ's sake -- long, long, long after anyone anywhere could worry about letting the cat out of the bag. So I spoiled it for myself and have nothing to complain about.

I knew there was someone called Keyser Soze in it, but because it came out when I was 13 and I couldn't see it anyway, I managed not to absorb any spoilers for it, so it was genuinely surprising when I saw it a few months ago.

I had to stay well away from Basket of Kisses and all the other discussion sites for Mad Men - and I'm yet to finish The Shield so I have all the post-mortem broadsheet stuff still to read. But some things don't matter so much. I've not seen much Seinfeld - it was essentially a cult show here, as it was shown on BBC2 late at night if there was no snooker, so most have seen it on DVD after Curb got big here if at all - but it doesn't matter that I know many of the tropes in the episodes I haven't seen. Unlike Monty Python - totally ruined for me by being ovber-quoted before I got to watch it - few people reference the Soup Nazi or whatever this side of the pond, so it's still nice to see what that's all about.
posted by mippy at 7:12 AM on May 31, 2011


Heck, I only decided to watch the whole run of "Life on Mars" because I found out (spoilers hidden, mouse over for them).YES THANKS FOR THAT
posted by mippy at 9:59 AM on May 31


No, thank you for repeating the spoiler. I missed it the first time around, but luckily you were kind enough to repeat it. Yay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 AM on May 31, 2011


Splunge: “koselitz I have nothing but great respect for you. But your "friend" is wrong. Even bad movies will have a narrative. And perhaps your friend might do him/her self a favor by watching any film from the beginning. Coming in at the middle of a film is doing a disservice to the creator of the film regardless of what the "friend" might think of the quality of the film. The flow is broken. Perhaps your friend might arrive early enough to see the whole instead of judging the film by the fragment or the pre-conceived notion?”

Well, not that it means anything, but he was a film professor, and film meant a lot to him. And it wasn't his habit to jump into movies in the middle (nor to watch bad movies, if he could help it.) I think his point was more that truly great movies transcend the need for a narrative, whereas truly bad movies never had a narrative worth following in the first place.

harriet vane: “What's an example of a great movie that wouldn't be less good if I only started watching it halfway through? And how does it relate to knowing the ending before you begin, since it's about missing the beginning?”

Well, I can give examples of movies that wouldn't be less good if you didn't see the beginning. Pretty much any Tarkovsky film, for example. How does that relate to spoilers? Well, I guess only in the sense that fuq's point (a point I've sometimes rehearsed, though now I think it's more nuanced) reminded me of that – his point being that anything worth watching can't really be spoiled if you know the ending, and if it's really a good show or film, then knowing the ending won't spoil your enjoyment of it at all.

I was sort of disagreeing; I think that might be true of the very best movies and shows, but not of just relatively good ones, and sometimes the relatively good ones are worth watching.

It's an interesting question, though. I guess not knowing the beginning and knowing the ending are only similar in that you're not watching it as "intended" – both interrupt the traditional process of watching from beginning to end and discovering as you go. I think really great things allow you to do that.

That seems true with TV shows, too. For example, you can pretty much watch any episode of The Prisoner and get a hell of a lot out of it, without even seeing the setup in the first episode.
posted by koeselitz at 7:20 AM on May 31, 2011


This thread is spoiling Dr. Who.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 7:20 AM on May 31, 2011


Metafilter: spoiling Doctor Who.
posted by oxford blue at 7:23 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, thank you for repeating the spoiler.
Well, it was too far down the thread to be in context. Alternatively: I am a belmhead, sorry.
posted by mippy at 8:05 AM on May 31, 2011


Spoiler: Doctor Who is shit.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Artw: " Well, yes, I imply that because it's basic politness. Nothing to do with the mods position - the mods position is basically they don't want to do anything and want to pretend it isn't a problem.

Uh, no? They have acknowledged that spoilers may be an irritant for some users. As far as I can tell, they simply do not feel that it's enough of an irritant to make widespread changes to the way the site works.

The last time this came up (what, a couple of weeks ago?) you had taken it upon yourself to work on a Greasemonkey Spoilers Script. What happened to that project?

If you wnat to go ahead and be a jerk with the full blessing of the mods then, yes, you have an opportunitry to do that and nobody is really going to stoo you.

Your pony doesn't seem to be large enough to force the mods to initiate a sitewide change. If you can create a fix for yourself with Greasemonkey, that would seem to be a more constructive solution that calling people jerks or accusing the mods of turning a blind eye.

Artw: " Well, that's fair enough, part of their attempt to pretend that there are no possible problems here is to be condescending as hell to anyone who doesn't buy in to their dream world version of how Metafilter work,

If you're speaking in general terms: we have a long, long history of MeTa posts in which the mods have actively and transparently discussed -- and in many cases changed -- site policy and the site interface to improve the experience of Metafilter's visitors and members.

If you're speaking about your own spoiler-free pony, then perhaps the dream world version of Metafilter that you're speaking of is simply yours, not theirs.
posted by zarq at 8:28 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like to watch things as 'intended' the first time. It's the only chance I have to see things the way the creator hoped I would. I can disagree with them later by watching it my own way - just my favourite scene, or clips of it on YouTube, or read the script backwards, or watch it again with full knowledge of how it ends. But that first time can't be replicated until someone comes up with a memory eraser.

And yeah, not everything I watch is high art. I still reject the false dichotomy between high art that can be watched in any way you like and stupid crap that can't be spoiled because it's not good enough. There's a bunch of stuff in between, and it's not wrong to want to try to experience it freshly instead of warmed over.

Obviously that's easier said than done, but it's still a dick move to deliberately spoil people or mock anyone who's trying to avoid them.
posted by harriet vane at 8:31 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Spoiler: Dr. Who saves the Earth, then doesn't fuck his side kick b/c he's too kind to confuse her with a cosmic orgasm.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 9:19 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, when does it become OK to talk about a narrative? It seems so subjective. It's been three years since The Wire wrapped up, and I found Omar's death to be both sudden and brilliantly foreshadowed the whole series in addition to being somewhat traumatic (in the loosest sense of the word) and I want to talk about it with mefites. Is it ever going to be ok to discuss it? There will always be someone out there who hasn't seen the show, so doesn't that mean that it will be a spoiler forever? It seems like all of this worry about spoilers will put a huge damper on conversations. If it is ok to talk about Dr. Who after a week, isn't it ok to talk about Omar's death after a few years? Is there some number of years we have to wait or should some parts of a narrative completely forbidden to openly discuss on metafilter?
posted by fuq at 9:54 AM on May 31, 2011


Well, Artw was a bit annoyed about this particular case, and I understand that. However, in general it seems pretty simple to just warn people before mentioning details that might spoil the narrative, doesn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 10:05 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, Omar dies? :(
posted by jess at 10:08 AM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, when does it become OK to talk about a narrative?

When a bunch of people have seen it and want to talk about it. If something airs tonight, people should be able to talk about it tomorrow around the water cooler and online, while they're still interested in it and it's still fresh in their minds.

People who will watch it later should avoid those threads. All it takes is for the poster to clearly identify what the thread is about; you don't need a flashing "POSSIBLE SPOILERS" alert, you just need to avoid writing one of those dumb mystery meat posts.
posted by pracowity at 10:42 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


It just seems like common sense that if you're worried about spoilers you shouldn't read a thread about the entertainment product which you don't want spoiled.

In a world of different broadcast windows and licensing rights, there's no decent way on an internet forum that attracts users from around the globe to effectively "police" spoilers in the way that Artw seems to be requesting. In Canada, for instance, we sometimes get broadcasts of American shows (particularly the HBO ones) in a slightly later window that they are originally broadcast in the US (though this is less the case these days). It would be silly of me to walk into a Mad Men thread and expect all the Americans who had just watched the new episode the night before to not talk about it until we in Canada had all had the chance too.

So too here, it seems awfully silly of Artw to request that Brits not discuss a British show they saw the previous day simply b/c it has not yet aired in his locale. Silly and presumptuous, even.

So again, in tl;dr fashion -- common sense will save you a lot of heartache.
posted by modernnomad at 11:13 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


If someone buys a domain I can set up a simple forum for us to talk about Dr. Who.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:45 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, Omar dies? :(
Well, at least he got to suck some cock first.
posted by PapaLobo at 11:50 AM on May 31, 2011


I thought The Sixth Sense was actually better the second time. More resonant, anyway. This is not the usual way of things, though. With a lot of his movies, knowing what happens at the end would simply save you from having to watch the rest of the film.
posted by Grangousier at 12:30 PM on May 31, 2011


I was more surprised by the Rory/Jack Harkness implications. Like, did Jack KNOW Rory would travel with the Doc some day? Is that why he hooked up with him?

Wait, what? Where is this from?
posted by Windigo at 12:33 PM on May 31, 2011


As a US-fan, I just kinda assumed anyone that cares downloads a torrent about an hour after the show premiers in the UK. And stays off any places you might get spoiled for the time it takes to DL.
posted by Windigo at 12:35 PM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


knowing what happens at the end would simply save you from having to watch the rest of the film.

I would agree with this, thus here are spoilers:

At the end of Lady in the Water it is revealed that you have just spent a portion, however small, of a finite lifespan watching Lady in the Water.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:57 PM on May 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


At the end of Lady in the Water it is revealed that you have just spent a portion, however small, of a finite lifespan watching Lady in the Water.

Oh, neat! So it ends where it all begins!
posted by nobody at 1:05 PM on May 31, 2011


Spoiler.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 1:06 PM on May 31, 2011


It's been three years since The Wire wrapped up, and I found Omar's death to be both sudden and brilliantly foreshadowed the whole series in addition to being somewhat traumatic

Goddammit.
posted by empath at 1:48 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was more surprised by the Rory/Jack Harkness implications. Like, did Jack KNOW Rory would travel with the Doc some day? Is that why he hooked up with him?

Wait, what? Where is this from?


FWIW, I took that to be a joke. A fake-spoiler.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:55 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel better, Omar dies after he joins the Doctor and time travels to Victorian England. OTOH, the orgy with the Doctor, Jack Harkness, the Brides of Dracula, and Frank Sobotka just seemed forced. Especially when the thinly-veiled David Simon/Russell Todd Davies/Robert Heinlein character had those performance issues.
posted by stet at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought so, but was still hoping maybe it was from some throw-away dialogue that I had missed.

I'm kinda disappointed it's fake.
posted by Windigo at 2:01 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I HATE THE CHEESY AFTERMARKET SPOILERS PEOPLE AFFIX TO THEIR HONDAS

MODS YOU NEED TO ACT
posted by everichon at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


About the same as I feel about the term "USian"?

When you guys stop referring to Britain as 'England' etc. etc.
posted by mippy at 2:17 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I assume the entire internet is a spoiler.
posted by Kimberly at 2:23 PM on May 31, 2011


Shit son, of course Omar gets killed. It was basically preordained by the physics of the show. I never had any question, even before I knew, that Omar's days were numbered. No one lives like that in The Wire's Baltimore and keeps living. If you're surprised Omar got got I don't even know what to talk to you about.
posted by fuq at 2:25 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought Oman died in the battle with the smoke monster.
posted by BeerFilter at 2:37 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd really be interested in working with some folks to create TelevisionFilter, actually. Basically just new posts for new episodes of a selection of shows, with general, unthreaded, MeFi style discussion in the comments. You'd be able, ideally to customize the view to only show you threads for the shows you follow, and there could be a MetaTVFi for overarching discussion and site business. televisionfilter.com is available...
posted by Rock Steady at 2:59 PM on May 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


Or MediaFilter. I want to talk about Batman, dammit.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:07 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rock Steady, that's a good idea. You could have anti-spoiler system that would plaintext spoilers when they "expire" and the user can set the expiration time. If you designed the site around a spoiler system you could start with an elegant system and there's already a user base interested in controlling spoilers and non threaded comments on posts. Go for it!
posted by fuq at 3:11 PM on May 31, 2011


Rock Steady, go for it. Sometimes I try and find interesting things about movies or TV shows just so I can put together a thread about it and hear people talk about it. It would be nice not to have the excuse.

Also, some of my friends are halfway through The Wire and still think that Omar's going to escape the system. I want to watch the episode where they're proven wrong just so I can see the looks on their faces.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2011


Or you could put some sort of 'storybeat' functionality into the threads. So say someone creates a thread about Dr. Lawyer, PI. The show has not aired yet, so the first beat would be set for its premier date. People could then discuss casting, promos, and so on. When the date hits, the first beat rolls over and a line is put in the discussion. The main comments link then either redirects to that line or you get a second link to take you to the most recent beat, whichever.

Then, as beats progress with each episode, so does where the link takes you. This allows people to keep current, avoid the most recent beats for fear of spoilers, but also keeps the longer narrative that would (hopefully) result from a thread that's organized Mefi-style (otherwise, you'd end up with a separate thread for each ep which has been done and sucks to try to catch up with).

You could do this with most any media that's released on set dates, not just TV, but movies and comics as well. PopFilter? MediaFilter?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Or you could put some sort of 'storybeat' functionality into the threads.

Oh, I like this.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:30 PM on May 31, 2011


Alright, so we're doing this then? I can set us up a simple board, but for the expiration date/story beat thing we'd need a more serious developer.

Also, I suggest metapop.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:44 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really really like this idea
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:59 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit son, of course Omar gets killed. It was basically preordained by the physics of the show. I never had any question, even before I knew, that Omar's days were numbered. No one lives like that in The Wire's Baltimore and keeps living.

Marlo?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:59 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's a Cylon.
posted by BeerFilter at 4:00 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are people spoiling The Wire? I HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET. THIS ISN'T A WIRE THREAD.
FFS. Don't be assholes!

It's been pointed out that Dr Who airs in Australia some months behind the UK.

Nope. It airs a week behind, so for the first time ever now Aus and America are getting something at the same time.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:04 PM on May 31, 2011


Just realised this thread is still going to be open this Saturday. At about 6:45 British Time. Mwah hah hah hah. (Etc)
posted by seanyboy at 4:15 PM on May 31, 2011


Are people spoiling The Wire? I HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET. THIS ISN'T A WIRE THREAD.
FFS. Don't be assholes!


The Wire has been over with 3 years. THREE YEARS. You can not expect the world to stop because you haven't seen it yet. Deal.

In face to face conversation, sure, stop, but it's the internet. NOBODY PUTS INTERNET IN A CORNER.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:15 PM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


NOBODY PUTS INTERNET IN A CORNER.

Thanks a lot, jerk. Some of us haven't seen Dirty DNSing yet.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:22 PM on May 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


The first rule of metapop (or TVfilter or Mediafilter or whatever) is no rot13.

Please? Pretty please? I hate rot13.
posted by meese at 4:31 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


You can't really spoil The Wire like you can spoil Dr. Who ("Rory was the one who was really pregnant!").

It is not the end result that makes The Wire so great, sure The Greek is behind the drug shipments ... and he might not actually be Greek! Nothing really spoiled there.
posted by geoff. at 4:41 PM on May 31, 2011


OTOH, the orgy with the Doctor, Jack Harkness, the Brides of Dracula, and Frank Sobotka just seemed forced.

This has made me even more sad than hearing about Omar, although there's a really good "polish sausage" joke in there somewhere.

I am 2 seasons and 3 episodes into The Wire oeuvre, but that's my own slowpoke fault so I can't blame anyone for spoiling me! It just goes to show that the line is tricky. We get Top Chef 1-3 weeks behind the US, and I have yet to have a season winner not ruined by accidental internet browsing. (This year it was mathowie who blew it for me in a triumphant tweet, actually. That jerk! ;) ) It's just the way global media goes sometimes.

This all being said, I would definitely participate in a MediaFilter place, and yes, would even use spoiler tags.
posted by jess at 4:44 PM on May 31, 2011


Watch out for Omar in the blue leisure wear.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:06 PM on May 31, 2011


CYLONS, OH!
posted by clavdivs at 5:56 PM on May 31, 2011


Cylons, HO!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 PM on May 31, 2011


So too here, it seems awfully silly of Artw to request that Brits not discuss a British show they saw the previous day simply b/c it has not yet aired in his locale. Silly and presumptuous, even.

In his defense, though, I think he was largely complaining about how a thread that was about a general trend of the show suddenly morphed into a thread about a specific episode of the show. So it'd be kind of like someone a couple years ago coming into a thread talking about this wacky clip showing all the times Hurley said "Dude" on LOST and saying, "Oh, man, did you believe it when he could see Charlie back at the insane asylum last night?"

Avoiding the thread is still a wise option, but this does seem to be a bit of a shade of gray here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:11 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I waited too long to watch the Wire and only caught up this year. Then stupid David Simon got on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me to play "Not My Job" and there was some allusion to them killing everyone's favorite character in the fifth season and the name of the show seemed far too appropriate.

That's the problem with white American upper middle class cultural wires getting crossed, I suppose.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:38 PM on May 31, 2011



The Wire has been over with 3 years. THREE YEARS. You can not expect the world to stop because you haven't seen it yet. Deal.

In face to face conversation, sure, stop, but it's the internet. NOBODY PUTS INTERNET IN A CORNER.


You know how I've been almost 99% unspoiled with The Wire? I AVOID WIRE THREADS. I also avoid watching The Wire when it airs on Friday here, since I'm barely home on Friday and I'll end up watching it out of order. This isn't a Wire thread. It's a thread to discuss spoiler policy. The best way to respect people is to NOT POST UNMARKED SPOILERS.

We all consume media at different times. It would be nice to show a bit of courtesy. For instance, I'm just watching Sons of Anarchy now. It'd be great to not get random Sons of Anarchy spoilers.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:45 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get it because I'm a huge WHO fan, but how is this any different than asking North Americans not to post about shows that are a year behind in the UK/Europe/etc.? Because it affects us now?

I think if you're worried about getting spoiled, stay out of a Doctor Who thread. However, hopefully people will be kind enough not to post spoilers OUTSIDE a who-related thread, but inside a clearly who-related thread, go for it IMO.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:49 PM on May 31, 2011


Oops, just saw LiB's post above mine (posted while I was formulating my response, shoulda previewed); obviously, I agree--people should hopefully refrain from posting spoilers outside a Who thread but shouldn't be expected not to talk about who in a who thread, that would just be silly :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:51 PM on May 31, 2011


Yeah, I like the World Health Organization, too. But somebody told me how it ended, and I just didn't have the heart to watch the rest.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know how I've been almost 99% unspoiled with The Wire? I AVOID WIRE THREADS

Dude.

You're continuing to post in a thread where you've already read a Wire spoiler. Do you really want me to mention what happens to Lester?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:57 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll fuckin' kill you if you ruin Seinfeld for me, Blatcher.
posted by gman at 7:00 PM on May 31, 2011


Remember, the only way to avoid spoiling the show is to never watch the show.
posted by fuq at 7:03 PM on May 31, 2011


I'll fuckin' kill you if you ruin Seinfeld for me...

You saw the episode about shrinkage, right? All the clues are there, look closely.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:07 PM on May 31, 2011


Blatcher, you're being a dick. As much as I hate to admit it, LiB is totally in the right here - this is not a thread for discussing The Wire, it's for discussing spoilers in general. Similarly, it's not a thread for discussing specific plot points of Mad Men, Citizen Kane, the X-files, Macbeth, or anything else.

Mod guidance is to avoid threads about a topic you don't want to have spoiled. Fair enough. Dropping steam piles of spoilerdom into a MeTa like this is just plain cockfacedness.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:08 PM on May 31, 2011 [12 favorites]


As much as I hate to admit it, LiB is totally in the right here

Hahahaha, you hate to admit it.

Show's been over for 3 years. You or anyone else doesn't not get to dictate who takes about what and when. Conversation drifts. If you're going to hang out in spoilers thread on the internet, you really don't have much room to be surprised here.

Dropping steam piles of spoilerdom into a MeTa like this is just plain cockfacedness.

What, Seinfield has been over for years! If gman has been in prison for that thing with goats again, that's not my problem. I told him to call afterwards.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Show's been over for 3 years. You or anyone else doesn't not get to dictate who takes about what and when. Conversation drifts. If you're going to hang out in spoilers thread on the internet, you really don't have much room to be surprised here.

It's a thread ABOUT spoilers. And 3 years isn't that long, especially when other countries get things at different rates and watching an entire series requires a massive time commitment.

Are you a gamer? Most games I buy are around 3 years old, since that's when I've dropped to 'very cheap' but aren't so old that they're outdated. It'd be pretty lame of you drop, I dunno, a Halo 3 spoiler into this thread.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:24 PM on May 31, 2011


What part of "conversation drifts" are you not getting? This isn't a thread discussing the latest space shuttle mission, it's a thread about spoilers. On the internet. Spoilers are going to come up in the thread, it's like an internet law or something.

Walk this back to where it started. Somebody mentioned a point about The Wire, I mentioned a counter point and you came barging in demanding that no one talk about the show. You want all conversation about a tv show to stop because you haven't had time to see it? And yet you keep posting in the thread? What the hell?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:36 PM on May 31, 2011


Do not taunt Happy Blatcher Ball.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:36 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd be pretty lame of you drop, I dunno, a Halo 3 spoiler into this thread.

I agree. I never watched the last Season of I Love Lucy so please don't spoil that for me. Also if anyone ruins "My Little Margie" in this thread I'm going to be pissed. I'm waiting for the Blu-Ray to come out.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:36 PM on May 31, 2011


Um, go Mavs?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:50 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is almost certainly one of those cases where using rot13 would be OK with the mods. If you did that, you could drop spoilers and not be a dick about it. I can see where that might not have much appeal for you, though.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:51 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crabby, just using SPOILER




and then a few blank lines works perfectly well. And fuq could just as easily have done that with the Omar spoiler, which was major and unnecessary, and therefore perfect for a SPOILER warning.
posted by mediareport at 7:57 PM on May 31, 2011


Lovecraft in Brooklyn:

Repeat after me: METAFILTER IS NOT A SPOILER FREE ZONE! METAFILTER IS NOT A SPOILER FREE ZONE!

At any moment and in any thread the conversation could drift to include a comment like "Wow, this reminds of when Omar died in The Wire."

Your unreasonable and unctuous demands that people protect the unspoiled nature of fictional consumables nearly three years old makes me want to fill your inbox with spoilers for everything, and I don't even watch this shit. I would actually have to go do homework to accomplish this.

I'm starting to think that the behavior and demands in this thread are scientific proof that television slowly rots brains. It's disturbing. This is the internet. You don't get to demand or dictate what people do and don't talk about, or how they talk about it.

You have the freedom to choose. You have the freedom to exercise self-restraint. You have the freedom to catch up on whatever media you like on your own time scales. You have the freedom to choose not to read metafilter or even to avoid the internet entirely.

You do not have the freedom to demand censorship of others. Sure, you may consider it "polite" for warnings about spoilers or whatever, but it's unreasonable to demand or expect it. People aren't always polite. In fact, people can be quite rude and naughty, and it's taking me a lot of restraint to not be just that in response to your demands, because frankly I reaaaaally don't give a fuck about your first world problems about consuming Sons of Anarchy spoiler free.

Deal with it or get off the internet. The world isn't waiting for you or holding your hand just so you can enjoy spoil-free fictional media.


This whole debate is even more personally irritating to me because having to rely on spoilers for a story to be interesting is (in my strong opinion) one of the lowest bars and tricks in writing fiction. Pretty much only garbage heavily relies on these kinds of surprise plot twists.

Good fiction often telegraphs the ending to you through foreshadowing, and alludes to it during the entire length of the journey of the story arc. Just off the top of my head look at Of Mice and Men. If you're paying attention while reading that book you just know that shit is going to go terribly wrong. If you're sharp you'll guess that George is going to shoot Lennie long before the scene where they put down Candy's dog. Steinbeck alludes to it in the very opening scene of the book. The entire story arc alludes to a bad end.

It's one example among thousands that show that good stories aren't at all ruined by spoilers. Story telling (like the real life it reflects) isn't about the ending, it's about the journey it takes to get there.

Yeah, my opinion is harsh. Yeah, I'm kind of an asshole. But I feel very strongly about the fact that I think most of the storywriting on TV is garbage. It's irritating to be asked to protect... garbage.

It'd be pretty lame of you drop, I dunno, a Halo 3 spoiler into this thread.

The entire thing is a ripoff of Ringworld vs. Starship Troopers. BTW, Master Chief sleeps with his mom and dad at the end. Then they eat some bug omelets.
posted by loquacious at 7:59 PM on May 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Your unreasonable and unctuous demands that people protect the unspoiled nature of fictional consumables nearly three years old makes me want to fill your inbox with spoilers for everything, and I don't even watch this shit.

Yeah, you're way overboard now. It's amazing how tough it is for some folks to talk about this calmly.

Steinbeck alludes to it in the very opening scene of the book. The entire story arc alludes to a bad end.

What a ridiculous argument in favor of spoiling a writer's careful unfolding of a plot.
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


i give this thread 2 thumbs up
posted by nathancaswell at 8:06 PM on May 31, 2011


loquacious:This is the internet.
No, actually. This is Metafilter, a subset of "The Internet" that takes overweening pride in the fact that we're 'better' than the rest of the scum and villainy that is "The Internet".

You have the freedom to exercise self-restraint.
So do you (and you've exercised it! Thanks!). So does everyone else. What's being asked is that being restrain from dickishly dropping spoilers for the sake of dropping spoilers. Brandon is threatening to drop spoilers just because LiB has had the temerity to ask for a bit of restraint.

You're totally entitled to your opinion that television is garbage. For the sake of not turning Metafilter into "The Internet", people are requesting some courtesy, and respect for those with a different point of view. It's not censorship.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:07 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


In Halo3, Master Beef wins.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 PM on May 31, 2011


In Halo3: the plot's pretty shit, it's about the multiplayer, and you may as well get Reach.
posted by pompomtom at 8:22 PM on May 31, 2011


It's not censorship.

By "censorship" I only meant self-censorship, not the actual full-strength government kind. I assure you I am not that clueless. Annoyed, maybe, but not clueless.
posted by loquacious at 8:24 PM on May 31, 2011


It'd be great to not get random Sons of Anarchy spoilers.

It's based on Shakespeare something something.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:30 PM on May 31, 2011


Just because you can spoil stuff doesn't mean you should spoil stuff. That's the whole point; show some consideration. I mean, yeah, spoilers are going to happen, but do you have to contribute to the problem?

I'm also picking up some disingenuity from BB. How do you go from disappointed about being spoiled for Life on Mars to dropping random nonsequitur spoilers in the same thread? Or is there some kind of dickishness olympiad going on that I wasn't aware of, and he's going for a half-gainer with a 180º twist?

I will say it again and again. I personally have no problems with spoilers. I don't really give a shit. But I still respect people's wish to not be spoiled. It's not that hard. But hey, I know you need the lulz. It's important for you to be able to act out.
posted by Eideteker at 8:32 PM on May 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


You're totally entitled to your opinion that television is garbage. For the sake of not turning Metafilter into "The Internet", people are requesting some courtesy, and respect for those with a different point of view. It's not censorship.

Yes, but where does it end. Shakespeare? We did have a person make a Meta a while back about Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, so I guess a century and a half is still not long enough. There are enough people on Metafilter that we can't determine whether of not a topic has gone far back enough to be discussable without spoilers, so this means we pretty much can't make allusions to any previous work of art, which includes films, books, video games, plays, opera, without someone potentially getting upset that we spoiled the ending. It seems a rather imposition on conversation if we can't make any type of mention of any fictional content.
posted by zabuni at 8:33 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "If you're going to hang out in spoilers thread on the internet, you really don't have much room to be surprised here."

If a thread about spoiler etiqutte is considered a free zone for dropping spoilers without warning, it makes it a pretty hostile environment for people who dislike spoilers.
posted by ericost at 8:46 PM on May 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


So, zabuni, always assume that the people reading the thread are unknowledgable of whatever the show/movie/novel/work you're talking about plays out and say stuff like "I finally watched "It's A Mad Mad Mad World" the other day thanks to Netflix and liked it a bunch, except that [warning: ending spoiler] I really didn't enjoy how the chief gets completely dicked over in the end - I would've liked it to just end after he reveals himself to the group and drives away happily instead of the dragged-out entirety of the final chase.

[end spoiler]

It's not much effort and simple. It's how I always do things when I talk about endings and plot twists and it's just a nice thing to do that instead of being a dick and letting people trip over spoilers.
posted by flatluigi at 8:49 PM on May 31, 2011


(and yes, marking spoilers like that would be a hell of a lot easier and obvious if MeFi had spoiler tags, but that ship has sailed)
posted by flatluigi at 8:50 PM on May 31, 2011


zabuni: Yes, but where does it end. Shakespeare? (...) It seems a rather imposition on conversation if we can't make any type of mention of any fictional content.

I don't think anyone is asking that nothing be spoiled, ever. Conversations which drift naturally to other topics as happens (for instance, talking about the Shakespeare episode of Dr Who in a Shakespeare thread) I'd consider fine and reasonable. Feel free to spoiler-tag it if you like, but whatever.

But dropping spoilers in a thread about spoiler etiquette (not a thread of spoilers, or for spoilers) because you've got yer pants in a snit due to people disagreeing with you is dickish.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:05 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spoiler: the first and last words of this sentence are both spoiler.
posted by idiopath at 9:07 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spoiler: my das's old Nissan maxima had a sunroof and a spoiler.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:09 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not much effort and simple. It's how I always do things when I talk about endings and plot twists and it's just a nice thing to do that instead of being a dick and letting people trip over spoilers.

No one does that for everything though. No one puts spoiler tags on Romeo and Juliet, and anyone who did would be mocked as heavily as the person who asked for spoiler tags on Owl Creek Bridge. We all have dividing lines about what we assume is common knowledge and what we assume could be spoiled. These lines are arbitrary, and so any usage of spoilers, unless we add spoiler tags to every mention of fictional work (which no party in any of the previous conversations has suggested) we run the risk of spoiling.

I don't think anyone is asking that nothing be spoiled, ever.

No, but people have vastly different ideas of what is or is not spoilable. Enough so that century old works get the bill. For example, I really don't see the pain of spoiling Life on Mars. The series is half a decade old at this point. Is it spoilable in a decade? 20 years? This is what the mods would have to deal with. And any line drawing would not be due to any logic and would be determined by how the author feels. Which would lead to metas metas metas.
posted by zabuni at 9:12 PM on May 31, 2011


What I've learned is that some dudes really, really resent cute Doctors.
posted by tomboko at 9:29 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Before reading, check the thread for signs of spoilage. Visually examine comments for signs of spoilage. Indications that the thread has spoiled include:
  • broken etiquette
  • mold (also refered to as trolling)
  • grarriness
  • cloudiness
  • spurting liquid when the thread is opened (called "threadshitting" in the New England region)
  • seepage
  • fave growth
  • fermentation
  • sliminess
  • disagreeable odor
All spoiled threads should be destroyed so they cannot be consumed by humans or animals.

posted by BeerFilter at 9:32 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Spoiler: in contrast to their name, spoilers make cars much better
posted by jtron at 9:37 PM on May 31, 2011


This whole debate is even more personally irritating to me because having to rely on spoilers for a story to be interesting is (in my strong opinion) one of the lowest bars and tricks in writing fiction. Pretty much only garbage heavily relies on these kinds of surprise plot twists.

Good fiction often telegraphs the ending to you through foreshadowing, and alludes to it during the entire length of the journey of the story arc.


There's a difference between foreshadowing and telling you what's going to happen. To stick with Doctor Who, the ending of this season has presumably been foreshadowed by the episodes we're seeing now. Once the ending happens all the little hints about River Song and the Gangers and Rory almost dying every episode and the continuity errors in The Black Spot and Canton Everett Deleware being played by Crowley from Supernatural will presumably mean something. We'll say 'ah, the casting of the bloke from Life On Mars was actually a subtle clue that [LIFE ON MARS SPOILERS OMITTED] and it should have been obvious that Eyepatch Lady is actually [WHOEVER SHE IS].' That is fun!

Actually saying 'The Doctor who was killed was a Cylon from an alternative universe brought over by Dream of the Endless' ruins the entire thing, and takes away the fun of that foreshadowing and hinting.

The Sons of Anarchy 'its based on Hamlet' spoiler is kinda okay, because it makes me intrigued. Saying 'in episode 5 of the first season Broody Lead finds out that Hellboy killed his dad, and runs off with the Aztecs to start his own gang' would be bullshit, since I want to find that out myself.

And who the fuck cares if you're 'personally irritated'? Why do you get to judge what literature is worthy? I've read Dante's Inferno (spoiler: they were in Hell) and Ulysses (spoiler: the only bit people who haven't read it remember is Molly's orgasm). But sometimes I like to read Stephen King or Simon R Green and yes, I would like to enjoy the stupid, predictable twists.

Metafilter members seem to compete in the Smug Olympics. If anyone enjoys anything, its only because they're too dumb to see The Truth, which is that Everything Sucks.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


For example, I really don't see the pain of spoiling Life on Mars. The series is half a decade old at this point.

Indeed. It amazes me how people can manage to suddenly care so much about something, when it's just been "spoiled" for them, yet not care enough to actually, you know, make time to watch it over the course of several years. You had all this other stuff you cared more about than this show, but suddenly when the show is spoiled for you, then suddenly the show is very important to you. Maybe I'm being a little harsh here, it's the same attitude you see in selfish little children; they don't care about that one toy, unless it's the one you want to play with - then, suddenly, they want it and you can't have it.

In my life, at any rate, there's very little overlap in the Venn diagram of [Stuff I Care About A Lot] and [Stuff I Go Months Or Years Without Finding Time For]. Right now, if you're spending time arguing on the internet about whether people should or shouldn't be allowed to spoil Life On Mars, instead of, you know, watching Life on Mars, you're either terrible at prioritizing your time or else you care more about arguing on the internet than actually watching the show.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:50 PM on May 31, 2011


I don't mind if you let me know if Leonard and Penny ever get together.
posted by unliteral at 9:56 PM on May 31, 2011


I don't mind if you let me know if Leonard and Penny ever get together.

Oddly enough, I let a friend spoil the season finale of Big Bang Theory for me, since I really don't care.

Indeed. It amazes me how people can manage to suddenly care so much about something, when it's just been "spoiled" for them, yet not care enough to actually, you know, make time to watch it over the course of several years. You had all this other stuff you cared more about than this show, but suddenly when the show is spoiled for you, then suddenly the show is very important to you. Maybe I'm being a little harsh here, it's the same attitude you see in selfish little children; they don't care about that one toy, unless it's the one you want to play with - then, suddenly, they want it and you can't have it.

There is A LOT of media in the world. I also don't have much free time. You've never read an old book? Watched an old movie? Played an old game? I've got stacks of random old paperbacks that I haven't read yet. And again, its usually easy to avoid spoilers. Dropping a random spoiler in a thread like this is just being a dick.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:00 PM on May 31, 2011


No one does that for everything though. No one puts spoiler tags on Romeo and Juliet, and anyone who did would be mocked as heavily as the person who asked for spoiler tags on Owl Creek Bridge. We all have dividing lines about what we assume is common knowledge and what we assume could be spoiled. These lines are arbitrary, and so any usage of spoilers, unless we add spoiler tags to every mention of fictional work (which no party in any of the previous conversations has suggested) we run the risk of spoiling.

Given that the entire point of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is the twist, I'd actually have to side with whoever was complaining about it being spoiled openly. What, really, is bad about assuming things aren't common knowledge? You're trying to force a slippery slope argument where there really isn't one.

Besides, even if the default should be 'mark spoilers in every single case where there's any reasonable doubt that people aren't aware of it,' why would that be a bad thing?
posted by flatluigi at 10:13 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watched an old movie?

Of course we have. But we have to accept that if we haven't yet seen Citizen Kane, someone is going to let slip about the sled. The older something is the less relevant calling stuff "spoilers" becomes. Frankly, I think the entire concept has a sell-by date of about two years. After that it ain't spoilers any more.
posted by Justinian at 10:14 PM on May 31, 2011


Why do we have to accept that, Justinian?

Tell me, have you seen every Hitchcock film? Read every novel starring Holmes or Poirot? I'm sure "everyone" knows who killed the man on the Orient Express, but what about the disappearance of the body in Les Diaboliques?

I can argue each of my examples as common knowledge (try me), but I would mark each and every time I reference the plots because I know that, despite how enjoyable they are knowing the way they develop, they were always the best when I knew nothing at all.

And, to your Citizen Kane example: Everyone knows that Rosebud is the sled. A lot less people know why that's important, and I've seen very very few people ever spoil that.
posted by flatluigi at 10:26 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]



Watched an old movie?

Of course we have. But we have to accept that if we haven't yet seen Citizen Kane, someone is going to let slip about the sled. The older something is the less relevant calling stuff "spoilers" becomes. Frankly, I think the entire concept has a sell-by date of about two years. After that it ain't spoilers any more.


Why two years? Things take longer than that to reach Australia. And not everything is Citizen Kane. There's a big middle ground of things that are good, but not 'everybody knows the ending' classics. There's also stuff like cult movies. My mate runs a cult film night, so I've held off on watching, say, They Live because I wanted to see it with a group of people.

Sticking with our friendly Timelord, I recently spent a sickday watching 'The Deadly Assassin', a Tom Baker serial from the 70s. Like everything pre-Eccelston, it was new to me. It was cool not knowing the ending, since I actually was in suspense. See also: most Westerns, most old detective movies, pulp fiction in general, middling 70s scifi, etc.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:28 PM on May 31, 2011


Once the ending happens all the little hints about River Song and the Gangers and Rory almost dying every episode and the continuity errors in The Black Spot and Canton Everett Deleware being played by Crowley from Supernatural will presumably mean something. We'll say 'ah, the casting of the bloke from Life On Mars was actually a subtle clue that [LIFE ON MARS SPOILERS OMITTED] and it should have been obvious that Eyepatch Lady is actually [WHOEVER SHE IS].' That is fun!

Dude! What are you doing! I just told you I haven't seen any of the new Dr. Who at all yet!
posted by loquacious at 10:35 PM on May 31, 2011


Shit, this is nothing. Try avoiding all media consumption while waiting for a Premier League replay.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:54 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is A LOT of media in the world.

Obviously there's more media in the world than you or I could ever possibly consume, let alone get to right away. But in three years, I can consume a fair amount of media; if something's so far down on my list that that I haven't gotten to it in that long, it's a pretty clear sign that I don't care that much about it. (Maybe I'll care more, after I read it or watch it and discover how awesome it is - but at that point I also won't care about spoilers.) By the time something is that far down on my list of stuff I care about, I don't really care about whether or not it's 'spoiled' for me, at least, not enough to go arguing about it on the internet. Even the stuff I mean to get around to - someday I'm going to read all Robert B. Parker's Spencer novels, for instance - I'm not going to flip out if someone tells me whodunnit in one of them (or even all of them). Right now, I'd rather chill on Metafilter than read a Spencer novel; I made that decision and I can live with that decision, even if it later turns out that now would've been a better time to read the Spencer book, because no one's spoiled it for me yet.

It seems pretty simple, to me:
If you care about watching the show/reading the book/playing the game more than you care about arguing over spoilers, get off the internet and go do it, or live with your choice not to. If, OTOH, you care more about the argument than the thing you're arguing about, then....well, you're not exactly trolling, but you're heading in that direction.

Besides, even if the default should be 'mark spoilers in every single case where there's any reasonable doubt that people aren't aware of it,' why would that be a bad thing?

Inevitably my idea of "reasonable doubt" will be different from yours, and so I'll write something, literally without the thought ever crossing my mind that I should add spoiler tags; you'll object that I should have been more considerate ["C'mon, not everyone's read the Iliad, you didn't spoiler tag "Beware Greeks bearing gifts" in your post"], and we'll still end up with MeTas, so it doesn't actually solve the problem. It does manage to be a pain in the ass and make reading any discussion of any significant plot twist or surprise ending really, really annoying though.

It would be nice if people weren't dicks and didn't drop random spoiler-bombs, sure. But it'd also be nice if people wouldn't get all bent out of shape on the internet about stuff they didn't/don't prioritize IRL. In any case, MeTas to get Mefites not to be dicks are right up there with Facebook petitions for peace in the Middle East in terms of expected results.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:54 PM on May 31, 2011


On one of the previous spoiler metas someone claimed, in apparent seriousness, that one shouldn't spoil something like the Odyssey or the Iliad (forget what the actual example was) as he hadn't read it yet, a work many thousands of years old. So two years or ten years or one hundred years or one thousand years, the age is irrelevant. There is literally no work produced in history, no poem or book or play or film or song, that everyone is familiar with, thus any discussion of any media ever made at any time will potentially spoil someone.

How do the anti-spoiler folks want to address discussion of media in that context? Should we warn for any potential spoiler from anything, regardless of the age? Is there a line between reasonable and unreasonable avoidance or warning of spoilers and, if so, where is that line and why is it there? Anything we want to talk about will be unfamiliar to someone, if only a child.

I'm not trying to be glib or facetious. I'm curious as to what extent, if any, this should be taken because it seems to me that telling and listening to stories is such a huge part of culture, all cultures and since before recorded history, that attempting to warn for everything fundamentally clashes with the telling of those stories.

Do we put a premium on the novelty for one person over the shared culture of a group?
posted by 6550 at 11:03 PM on May 31, 2011


Obviously there's more media in the world than you or I could ever possibly consume, let alone get to right away. But in three years, I can consume a fair amount of media; if something's so far down on my list that that I haven't gotten to it in that long, it's a pretty clear sign that I don't care that much about it.

Most of my media consumption is in the form of live music and books. TV box sets are a pretty big time commitment. And again, its generally easy to avoid spoilers. I'm a daily visitor to the AV Club and all I need to do is avoid stories about shows I don't want spoilers. Simple. Do you really think I'm going to consume all the media I want to consume?

Asking MeFites to avoid dropping unmarked spoilers in threads is a matter of courtesy. Also note that people who want to spoil use examples like 'Greek myths' and 'Citizen Kane' while the spoiler-phobic use more contemporary examples.

Besides, you can still spoil. Just MARK the spoiler somehow.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:06 PM on May 31, 2011


On one of the previous spoiler metas someone claimed, in apparent seriousness, that one shouldn't spoil something like the Odyssey or the Iliad (forget what the actual example was) as he hadn't read it yet, a work many thousands of years old. So two years or ten years or one hundred years or one thousand years, the age is irrelevant. There is literally no work produced in history, no poem or book or play or film or song, that everyone is familiar with, thus any discussion of any media ever made at any time will potentially spoil someone.

How do the anti-spoiler folks want to address discussion of media in that context? Should we warn for any potential spoiler from anything, regardless of the age? Is there a line between reasonable and unreasonable avoidance or warning of spoilers and, if so, where is that line and why is it there? Anything we want to talk about will be unfamiliar to someone, if only a child.


Well, yeah. Warn the spoilers. Some people haven't experienced the Odyssey or the Iliad. The work might be thousands of years old, but I'm only 25.

Or to use another example: The two big geek rites of passage are reading Lord of the Rings and Hithhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. They're old, but they were new to me when I read them. Why not just MARK THE SPOILERS. That's it.

Like this:

SPOILERS FOR MY USERNAME:











someday something's coming from way out beyond the stars





END SPOILERS


Or we could just put in Spoiler Tags.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:08 PM on May 31, 2011


The Iliad is famous, hard to spoil, and has very few people coming across it as new reading it for fun these days. Your 'spoiler,' in fact, is a goddamn idiom resulting from how culturally ingrained the work is. Framing my argument with that example instead of any of the examples I gave is disingenous and avoiding my point. You should try arguing on good faith next time!

To another of your 'points' - I have Netflix, a library card, and a nearby Gamestop. I spend most of my free time either relaxing or consuming media I've always intended to consume. I do not believe that I will ever get to get around to absolutely everything I ever want to and staying off the internet until I do is absolutely ridiculous as an assertion.

Thirdly: Why do you think bringing up discussion of a website in the place specifically marked for discussion of the website and read by a good amount of the people who use the website (including all of the administrators) is comparable to a petition made in a place nobody with the power to change anything about it would care about, let alone see it?
posted by flatluigi at 11:13 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a brilliant episode of the BBC comedy 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads' where Terry and Bob go to superhuman lengths to avoid hearing the result of an England football match before they get to watch the highlights in the evening. The really funny thing is when...but that would be telling, it was made in 1973 and, most importantly, hasn't been shown in the USA yet.
posted by joannemullen at 11:43 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


blue TARDIS, now red. Lord Snowdon has a postage stamp sized Dalek...HEY, I was paid.
BB owns me one quarter half a internets

posted by clavdivs at 11:46 PM on May 31, 2011


And again, its generally easy to avoid spoilers.

I keep hearing this argument, and it doesn't make sense to me. If it's so easy to avoid spoilers, why is it necessary to argue that we should go out of our way not to spoil stuff? Just easily avoid the spoilers, as you have been doing. It seems you're just saying "it's easy everywhere else, so it should be easy here, too" except it's pretty clearly not that easy on Metafilter. A forum with tons of users having wide-ranging conversations on an already-wide selection of subjects, that strays messily all over the place, is harder to avoid spoilers on than on, say, a website with one-author articles with discrete and clearly marked subjects. Just the nature of the beast.

I want people to be able to come to Metafilter and freely post whatever pops into their head that seems relevant to the thing they're discussing, even if it's a reference to some other work or contains spoilers. I like that people on Metafilter draw weird connections between things I wouldn't have thought of. I like that people will discuss all sorts of stuff I've never seen/read/heard of in connection to other stuff - half the time the people posting "This is like a lamer version of ____" are indirectly suggesting really good stuff. "This is like a lamer version of [SPOILERS]



_________"
Isn't the same comment. And is harder to respond to, as well - if it's an interesting point they're making, next thing you know half the thread is lines of empty space. So yeah, I'd like people to be able to talk about whatever, while keeping Metafilter readable.

You, on the other hand, want to be assured that no one will spoil stuff for you, except only you know what you don't want spoiled and what exactly constitutes a spoiler. For example:

The two big geek rites of passage are reading Lord of the Rings and Hithhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. They're old, but they were new to me when I read them. Why not just MARK THE SPOILERS.

Seriously? Lord of the Rings? That's gotta be spoiler-tagged too, forever and ever, even now that the movies are out? Seriously, you need to publish a list, maybe put it in your profile, because I personally would've put both those examples up there with Shakespeare and the Iliad in terms of cultural pervasiveness. I have no idea how I'd even spoil Hitchhiker's Guide...it's not exactly built on suspense.

You should try arguing on good faith next time!

You should try reading comprehension! Here's the cliff-notes version, maybe it'll help:

point 1: Inevitably my idea of "reasonable doubt" will be different from yours [and to illustrate the problems of differing ideas of "reasonable doubt" to you, I will intentionally use an example which does not fit your idea of reasonable doubt]

point 2: get off the internet and go do it, or live with your choice not to.

point 3: in terms of expected results. [both can be expected to have negligible impact on the larger issue. See also: remarks about what a teensy tiny fraction of the site population actually reads MeTa.]


6650: Do we put a premium on the novelty for one person over the shared culture of a group?

This is a really interesting point, and makes me wonder if the rise of hatred-for-spoilers is somehow culturally connected to the "filter bubbles" that everyone's concerned about; the lessening of the importance of a shared culture in favor of a personalized, tailor-made one. But I ought to sleep instead of thinking about it.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:57 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your point 1, as I said, is ridiculous to me enough for me to think you're doing anything but being honest. I simply cannot believe you think people should spoiler tag idioms and I think you're being dishonest to make a point.

Point 2 is presenting a false dichotomy and being an insufferable dick about it. There are options between 'staying off the internet forever' and 'being at fault for every spoiler you see for not choosing to stay off the internet forever.' Like suggesting people be nicer about spoilers.

And point 3 is not even a point, seriously. The majority of users on MeFi use Ask, but the majority of users that use the Blue (where general discussion takes place) also read MeTa, and those users are the ones who are being addressed about spoilers.

Just because I disagree heavily with you doesn't mean I failed to comprehend your post, mstokes. Though to be honest, it appears you're arguing from the position that 'you're completely right and there's no way to change that,' which would certainly support that view.
posted by flatluigi at 12:08 AM on June 1, 2011



I keep hearing this argument, and it doesn't make sense to me. If it's so easy to avoid spoilers, why is it necessary to argue that we should go out of our way not to spoil stuff? Just easily avoid the spoilers, as you have been doing. It seems you're just saying "it's easy everywhere else, so it should be easy here, too" except it's pretty clearly not that easy on Metafilter. A forum with tons of users having wide-ranging conversations on an already-wide selection of subjects, that strays messily all over the place, is harder to avoid spoilers on than on, say, a website with one-author articles with discrete and clearly marked subjects. Just the nature of the beast.


It's easy to avoid spoilers when people play by the rules. For instance, I remained unspoiled on Neil Gaiman's Doctor Who episode by avoiding all the Doctor Who threads and reviews, plus limiting my Twitter use. If somebody had posted Doctor Who spoilers in a MetaTalk thread or a music thread or the LA Noire thread I would have been pretty annoyed.



I want people to be able to come to Metafilter and freely post whatever pops into their head that seems relevant to the thing they're discussing, even if it's a reference to some other work or contains spoilers. I like that people on Metafilter draw weird connections between things I wouldn't have thought of. I like that people will discuss all sorts of stuff I've never seen/read/heard of in connection to other stuff - half the time the people posting "This is like a lamer version of ____" are indirectly suggesting really good stuff. "


You can do that without spoilers. The recent Gears of War/Warhammer 40K thread is full of 'actually, 40K came from Aliens/Nemesis/Heinlein/E E Doc Smith' without explicitly spoiling any of them. It was also free of people randomly spoiling whatever plot exists in Gears of War, Dawn of War, God Of War, God Hand, or Kung Pow: Enter The First.

If you're telling me about how awesome your Diablo character's soul-sucking sword is I can mention Elric without giving away the whole plot.


Seriously? Lord of the Rings? That's gotta be spoiler-tagged too, forever and ever, even now that the movies are out? Seriously, you need to publish a list, maybe put it in your profile, because I personally would've put both those examples up there with Shakespeare and the Iliad in terms of cultural pervasiveness. I have no idea how I'd even spoil Hitchhiker's Guide...it's not exactly built on suspense.

Not spoiler tagged 'forever and ever' but at least marked. Part of my issue with the Life on Mars and Wire spoilers in this thread were that they were dropped in with no rhyme or reason or any connection to the discussion.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:29 AM on June 1, 2011


You can do that without spoilers.

Sure, sometimes. (40k's really just a setting, hard to spoil.) But what about, say, this seriously epic comment - should it've been marked with spoiler tags? For both Ferris Bueller and Fight Club, presumably? How many/what form of spoiler warnings should it have had?

Not spoiler tagged 'forever and ever' but at least marked. Part of my issue with the Life on Mars and Wire spoilers in this thread were that they were dropped in with no rhyme or reason or any connection to the discussion.

And now we've gotten into Lord of the Rings, and Hitchhikers (and really, I'm serious, if you were to set out to spoil Hitchhiker's for your younger self, how would you even do it? I guess, uh, spoiler-warning your answer, but I just can't even imagine.)

I've agreed that randomly dropping spoilers in just to be a dick is, well, being a dick, but the point is, conversations travel in unpredictable ways. Life on Mars got brought up originally in this thread in just the kind of comment I'm talking about - someone saying "hey, this situation reminds me of [anecdote involving my relationship with another work of fiction]" -- not trying to be a dick (use of Protip notwithstanding), but just contributing in good faith, talking about something they personally didn't consider to involve important spoilers worth marking. I don't think that should be an issue, and I think it would be better to encourage people reading posts to be less sensitive to encountering spoilers like that than to encourage people posting stuff to be more sensitive and worried about possible spoilers.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:55 AM on June 1, 2011


Should The Singularity arrive my best guess is that it won't come with spoiler tags.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:03 AM on June 1, 2011


"I keep hearing this argument, and it doesn't make sense to me. If it's so easy to avoid spoilers, why is it necessary to argue that we should go out of our way not to spoil stuff? Just easily avoid the spoilers, as you have been doing."

It's easy to avoid spoilers when people play by the rules.


Yes. What precipitated this conversation, mstoke650, was a conversation about the propensity of the character to use guns. It wasn't about any particular episode as such. So there was a not-unreasonable expectation of fair play on the part of other posters to "play fair", since this was about a trend of the show itself. Then someone started talking about an unaired-in-the-US episode in that thread, and made that episode the focus of the thread.

Yeah, you could argue for conversational drift, but conversational drift can also have people being courteous enough to say, "oh, I just got in from seeing -- oh, wait, you haven't seen it yet? I'll hold off, sorry." Or saying, "okay - I'm gonna talk about this episode now, so if you don't want to know, cover your ears or something." A warning of sorts.

It is, of course, true that people who wish to remain unspoiled could just stay out of that thread altogether. But it had been a safe enough space up to that point, was all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:42 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The entire thing is a ripoff of Ringworld vs. Starship Troopers.

Surely it's an uncredited 'interpretation' of Consider Phlebas, with the Idirans turned vaguely humanoid, the Culture turned into the marines from Aliens and the one drone turned into C3P0?
posted by emmtee at 2:50 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


>: ["C'mon, not everyone's read the Iliad, you didn't spoiler tag "Beware Greeks bearing gifts" in your post"]

The "not everyone" here apparently includes the person making this point. SPOILER: There's no wooden horse in the Iliad. "I fear Greeks, even Greeks bearing gifts" is from the Aeneid - timeo Danaos, et dona ferentes.

On the plus side, this is roughly how I get to enjoy things where spoilers are a meaningful issue1 - by remembering that people frequently misread, misremember or misstate key elements, or indeed are making statements about things they have not themselves read or seen in order to appear knowledgeable.

1 With the Iliad or much of Shakespeare spoilers are a less meaningful concept, because there was relatively little danger that the audience would be coming to the story totally fresh. So in many cases the authors were building on already-existing stories, and the challenge was to interest the audience in the process - at best, one might be curious about which story has been adopted (is Achilles invulnerable, for example, or does Cordelia survive). I'd suspect that the spoiler only really became a meaningful concept during the age of the novel. By the time I got to reading the Iliad as a primary text I already at least thought I knew what happened in it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:29 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those who knew me in high school 25+ years ago

[SPOILER]

--I am fat, balding, boring, and nowhere near as smart or accomplished as I thought I might be back then--

[/SPOILER]

drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you.
posted by maxwelton at 3:33 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your unreasonable and unctuous demands that people protect the unspoiled nature of fictional consumables nearly three years old makes me want to fill your inbox with spoilers for everything, and I don't even watch this shit. I would actually have to go do homework to accomplish this.

Oh come on. The Wire: only shown in the UK in 2009 or so, every night, late night on the TV, so most people come to it by box sets, as with Seinfeld over here (but that isn't a drama, so less easy to 'spoil'.) There are people who were too young to watch it when it aired, who didn't have a telly, who worked shifts so they couldn't see regular shows and had to catch up with them later. It's unreasonable to suggest we SPOILER-tag Lord of The Rings and other works that have been out for decades, or works based on historical events, but it's not reasonable to assume that just because something is five years old, or three years old, that everyone's seen it. Those of us that don't have Sky over here, for example, would have to wait for the box set of the new Mad Men series, as with Boardwalk Empire.
posted by mippy at 3:35 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do you go from disappointed about being spoiled for Life on Mars to dropping random nonsequitur spoilers in the same thread?

You took it too seriously. The comment was more "Haha, why are you repeating a spoiler, that's silly" and less "OMG, my life is ruined, how could you?!"

Brandon is threatening to drop spoilers just because LiB has had the temerity to ask for a bit of restraint.

Eh, it was said with a mischievous grin, not a threat. It was said because LiB continues to hang out in a thread where he knows spoilers have been dropped, so it's kinda hard to take his complaints seriously. And sheer self centeredness of demanding that people not talk The Wire because he hasn't seen it is astounding. There's no reason he has to keep reading the thread.

Look, I love movies and tv, really. I went out and bought the entire run of The Wire after a few episodes. Then me and the wife holed up in the house for about 3 weeks, watching the entire series at about 3-4 episodes a night. When Battlestar Galatica was on, I was glued to the TV when a new episode was on. I make it effort to watch Survivor when it airs so I can talk about it with others. I can't go to the movies or watch tv with certain friends 'cause if they talk a lot, interrupting my enjoyment, annoying the shit outta me. And yes, getting spoilt does suck.

But on the grand scale of things, there's more important stuff in life, you know? Getting this bent of shape and demanding other people stop talking about something is asking for too much, IMO. It's not realistic. Conversations and threads drift, especially on the global scalr of the internet. No one is forcing you to continue reading a particular thread. If we were all gathered around a table, it might be different, but we ain't, so it isn't. Also, it would be a really big table and I wouldn't recommend sitting next to Meatbomb.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 AM on June 1, 2011


It has nothing to do with the age of the material. You just have to think about it. Did you enjoy X more for not knowing [fact about it]? Would knowing [fact] change your viewing/reading experience? If there's a reasonable doubt there, just be considerate and throw out a spoiler warning. Not everyone has seen all the same media you have. Some people were too young and are only now just catching up, some of us have jobs/lives, and so on. Yes, we can expect to be spoiled on some stuff, and the older it is, the more likely. But just because the average person has, let's say, a greater than 50% chance of being involved in a car accident at some point in their life doesn't mean you should go around ramming cars. "It was gonna happen" is not a defense for car crashes, rape, felony assault, robbery, knocking someone over on the sidewalk, posting unmarked spoilers, or just generally being rude. Just because something is statistically likely doesn't give you the right to be a jerk.

Just stop and think: Will sharing this information change the viewing experience for someone who hasn't seen it. It's not that hard to be considerate. And sure, some things are going to slip. It happens. But don't use that as a license to just shit everywhere.
posted by Eideteker at 4:05 AM on June 1, 2011


I just remembered I got spoiled for The Apprentice at work - I had to prepare something for a show being broadcast the next day, and right there was the name of that evening's losing candidate.

The last series was partly filmed at my offices and I made sure I didn't find out who my colleagues were working with, as it was part of the final and filmed well before the series was broadcast (it was held back due to the general election)/.
posted by mippy at 4:06 AM on June 1, 2011


"It was said because LiB continues to hang out in a thread where he knows spoilers have been dropped, so it's kinda hard to take his complaints seriously."

How are people who are concerned about spoilers supposed to voice their opinion, if, just by dropping a random spoiler in a dickish manner, you can shut them down completely? Is LiB supposed to now start a new MeTa and ask very nicely for people to not put any actual spoilers in that thread so he can discuss spoiler policy? Then what happens when fuq decides to drop another spoiler just to be impish?

It's to a much lesser degree, but it's still akin to shaming rape victims in a thread about rape (which I did, once, accidentally). You're creating a hostile environment and shutting down discussion. C'mon, grow up and be serious.

"Then me and the wife holed up in the house for about 3 weeks, watching the entire series at about 3-4 episodes a night."

So unless we make TV the #1 priority in our lives (do you have kids?), we don't deserve the same viewing experience as someone else might have? We can't just enjoy something on its own terms, unmolested, on our own time?

The problem with putting a time limit on it is that then it becomes a matter of "when?" I mean, the Prisoner was on the air in the 60s, but I wasn't even born yet. I'm sorry I didn't make it a priority the minute I heard about the show, but I think my mom would have frowned on that since I had schoolwork and anyway I didn't have a job and money to buy the box set (which would have been VHS at the time). It wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I actually got to watch the whole series. Now, the ending HAD been spoiled for me by that time (fine for me, see above about my feelings on spoilers; it comes from being poor and not being able to just BUY. EVERY. BOX. SET. Eventually, I had to just give up) by TV, not the Internet. But that doesn't mean I'm going to reveal the ending offhandedly in a comment.

I know, it sucks, but sometimes you ought to show a little restraint. Just a little bit. It won't kill you to be a nice guy for a few seconds a day.
posted by Eideteker at 4:17 AM on June 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've seen some but not all of The Wire. I have been spoiled about certain elements of the parts I haven't seen - usually through general conversation rather than somebody getting into a weird geek dick-measuring contest, admittedly - and have accepted that this is going to happen. I might try to avoid too much detail, and I might ask friends not to tell me about it in detail, at the cost of missing out on some of their conversations, but that's about it.

I think the severity of spoiling definitely goes on a curve, or more precisely a series of curves - time after release, importance of datum, type of experience. The twist at the end of The Sixth Sense was a very important datum, and the experience of the film was changed enormously by knowing it, so it was a big spoiler. The guys who are trying to avoid finding out the result of a football game until they can watch the replay in the evening are basically trying to avoid spoilers, and are probably within their rights to ask people not to talk about the game in their presence, or to remove themselves - the time after release is very short, the score is a very important datum.

Whereas I don't really mind being spoiled for parts of The Wire, because the individual data tend not to be too important, and because the experience doesn't depend on not knowing what happens: it's a show that is enjoyable for the quality of its writing and acting. I don't object to already knowing how King Lear or Antigone ends, and also every key beat in the story and a fair bit of the dialogue. I'd imagine that many of the people who post on Internet forums that Rosebud is a sled have never actually seen Citizen Kane, just like the Iliad, above - and when they do see it, knowing this will not spoil their enjoyment.

Balancing your desire to make a comment with others' desire to experience a recent cultural object in a pristine condition shouldn't be difficult, to be honest - and, phrasing aside, what Artw was probably trying to say, above, was:

I am a fan of Doctor Who, and would like to participate in general discussion about Doctor Who. However, I am dependent on BBC America to see episodes, and will thus be a week behind people in the UK. Could my desire to see things unspoiled for the first time be respected?

There's an obvious slippery slope argument from there, which has now gone back to around the 9th century BC. It's already been established that this isn't something people are going to get moderated on, and that solutions like rot13 or spoiler tags aren't going to be built into MetaFilter or encouraged, because a flowing conversation is more important than the feelings of people who would like to experience cultural objects pristine. After that, it's just a question of how much you care about other people's feelings, and to what extent you're prepared to change your behavior.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:24 AM on June 1, 2011


So unless we make TV the #1 priority in our lives (do you have kids?), we don't deserve the same viewing experience as someone else might have?

*sighs* You're determined to spin this in the worst possible light. There can be no meeting of the minds on this if you're going to be like that.

We can't just enjoy something on its own terms, unmolested, on our own time?

No, you live in the world with the rest of us.

After that, it's just a question of how much you care about other people's feelings, and to what extent you're prepared to change your behavior.

If ya'll are going to frame this as "good vs bad," a lot of people are going to enjoy being the bad guy in this scenario.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw posted Who comments that spoilered for me in Australia - how dare he!!!!
And Who hasn't aired yet in Paraguay (invented fact) so we cannot discuss it.
Get a grip, its a TV show.
Torrent it if it is important to you. I've got no sympathy for Lovecraft getting spoiled on 2yro media - if it is important you see it unspoilered, see it early.
posted by bystander at 5:12 AM on June 1, 2011


After that, it's just a question of how much you care about other people's feelings, and to what extent you're prepared to change your behavior.

If ya'll are going to frame this as "good vs bad," a lot of people are going to enjoy being the bad guy in this scenario.


If I'd wanted to frame it as good vs bad, I would have framed it as good vs bad. I think you're looking for a fight, and I'm not sure why, but I don't think it would be a good use of my time.

If you read my post, I posit a series of curves. It's down to people to decide where on those curves any given piece of media is, and thus how reasonable they feel a request not to talk about those media is, and to make a decision based on that and any external factors (e.g. if the person asking is a sick child whose only wish is to get to the end of The Wire without spoilers).

I suppose if you're determined you could pan some sort of squabble out of that, but I wouldn't bother, personally. There are richer veins of antagonism to be mined elsewhere.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:33 AM on June 1, 2011


(Unless you're a sick child whose only wish is to get into a fight on the Internet, in which case HOW DARE YOU SIR?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:43 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's to a much lesser degree, but it's still akin to shaming rape victims in a thread about rape (which I did, once, accidentally). You're creating a hostile environment and shutting down discussion. C'mon, grow up and be serious.

Randomly mentioning rape out of nowhere tends to create a bit of a hostile environment. Just sayin'.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:54 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's to a much lesser degree, but it's still akin to shaming rape victims in a thread about rape (which I did, once, accidentally). You're creating a hostile environment and shutting down discussion.

what? get a fucking grip.
posted by modernnomad at 6:00 AM on June 1, 2011


If I'd wanted to frame it as good vs bad, I would have framed it as good vs bad.

The Good vs bad impression comes from comments like these:
"I appologise if my request for basic politness is not quite to your liking."

"I know, it sucks, but sometimes you ought to show a little restraint. Just a little bit. It won't kill you to be a nice guy for a few seconds a day."

"It's not that hard to be considerate."

"After that, it's just a question of how much you care about other people's feelings..."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 AM on June 1, 2011


Not spoiler tagged 'forever and ever' but at least marked. Part of my issue with the Life on Mars and Wire spoilers in this thread were that they were dropped in with no rhyme or reason or any connection to the discussion.

You know what? This is a thread about spoilers. You've been here long enough to know that people are going to randomly drop them in the thread, because that's always what happens, and yet you wandered in here anyway.

You should know better than to walk in here if there are years and years worth of spoilers you need to preserve. This ALWAYS happens in these threads. If I know the burrito place down the street gives me the runs every time I eat there, I am an idiot to go in there and buy a burrito and then complain afterwards about how sick it makes me.

What you're asking for is for the site to radically change its discourse to suit your lifestyle. You're framing it as a matter of courtesy. You know what's a better, and more realistic, courtesy to your fellow users? Let go of the indefinite hold you have on The Wire and watch the god damned show if it's so important to you.
posted by dflemingecon at 6:03 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Good vs bad impression comes from comments like these:


I didn't write any of those things, Brandon, except the last one, which I have already explained to you in the context of the rest of a post you apparently didn't read in its entirety. You have now cut the last part from the sentence, in an attempt to make it fit your model better. This Procrustean fight-seeking is sort of sad.

Unless you are a sick child, etc, in which case OH MY GOD YOU GOT ME BANG TO RIGHTS!
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:11 AM on June 1, 2011


I didn't write any of those things...

You're mistaken if you think you're the only person being addressed here. There's a larger discussion going on that isn't just about what you've written..

You have now cut the last part from the sentence, in an attempt to make it fit your model better.

If you're determined that think the worst of someone, then that's your right. Enjoy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on June 1, 2011


To get back OT...

SPOILER ALERT: DRAMATIC SITUATIONS AND EVENTS HAPPEN IN THIS FICTION DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Halo 3 has the worst, most fake-ass manufactured twist/spoiler ever. Glad you brought it up because it is an example of how some of these spoilers are just gimmicks and how spoiler-control can be extremely complicated in practice. The Halo series wrapped up in 2007. First of all, the first Halo's story was neat because it was a rip off of Aliens and it's told in a way that uses the videogame media to tell the story, like in the scene when the Flood first appear. The plot of the following games is basic sci-fi mash but with the main character is a silent protagonist in a robot costume. Master Chief Petty Officer Tabula Rosa. The emotional connection is that the player controls the Master Chief, who really doesn't have a personality. The games happen and then the writers somewhat randomly kill the main character at the very end of the trilogy in the last cut scene. He's killed in a rather unemotional way that doesn't really result from his character or the overall story-line except that endgame bosses blow up real pretty like. The whole event could be cut out of the game's narrative and have no effect on the narrative.

What about these spoilers? I think they included it just to make some hype about the game by alluding to a [spoiler alert] "supriSsSsSsSsing ending!" I think they put it in just so they could have a spoiler ending. It takes no skill on the part of the writer and it has nothing to do with the narrative. It is basically like an event that happens outside of the plot and can't possibly spoil the narrative of the games because it has nothing to do with the narrative. What about spoilers that exist only for the purpose of being hypey spoilers? Why does it make sense to not discuss something tacked onto the end that's not related to the story?

Is it too soon to talk about Supeman's death? I was just 10 years old and just getting into Superman and entertainment and it was like "wow". I think it may have affected my world views. That was back in 1992.

I don't think I'm spoiling anything by discussing these examples. This stuff has been out there for a while and people have talked about it publicly. It's not like I'm talking about Source Code (2011) or going over the specific details of Omar's death.
posted by fuq at 6:45 AM on June 1, 2011


Wait, wouldn't even knowing there is a spoiler be a spoiler?
posted by fuq at 6:46 AM on June 1, 2011


OK, so I've watched the first three episodes of the rebooted Doctor Who on Netflix and I have (spoiler!) fallen asleep all three times. :/

I tried, people! (see this comment for reference)
posted by desjardins at 6:53 AM on June 1, 2011


A data point and an observation:

The data point: I've been following this thread and the spoilery Doctor Who thread. I watched "The Almost People" last night. And the spoilers took nothing away from the experience for me. Quite the opposite; I appreciated having something to guide my viewing through a universe that's still sort of unfamiliar to me. Of course, I recognize that others won't feel this same way, but nevertheless there it is. The point? Remembering that other perspectives are possible isn't a bad idea.

An observation: The extreme "no spoilers, ever" position -- and I can't quite tell if anyone's actually adopting that position, or if it's just being ascribed to them -- initially struck me as extraordinarily silly. But I'm beginning to see its use. Just one example: Although it's old, I haven't gotten around to reading the Bible. So, if I can use this fact to get the people down the street to shut up already about what happens to Jesus, well, then this extreme position will not have been in vain.
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:57 AM on June 1, 2011


You're mistaken if you think you're the only person being addressed here. There's a larger discussion going on that isn't just about what you've written..

You quoted something I had written, and then wrote directly underneath it.

If ya'll are going to frame this as "good vs bad," a lot of people are going to enjoy being the bad guy in this scenario.


I explained why I don't fit into that "y'all". Your attempt to shuffle me back into that "y'all" involved selectively editing something you had already quoted in full.

It's OK to be wrong, Brandon. That won't make me or anyone else think worse or the worst of you. But unless you actually are a sick child, there's a limit to how far I have to indulge shoddy argumentation to the effect that you were right all along. Even if you are a sick child, there's a limit, but it's considerably higher, AND I GUESS MY FACE IS RED NOW!
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:00 AM on June 1, 2011


Man, this Iliad point was apparently completely lost on folks. It's in quotes, for a reason; but this time let me be more clear:

HYPOTHETICAL PERSON WHOSE STANDARDS OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A REASONABLE SPOILER ARE WAY LOWER THAN YOURS says: "Hey! You said "beware Greeks bearing gifts! SPOILER TAGS dude, some of haven't gotten through the Iliad yet." (And yes, the fact that phrase does not come directly from the Iliad was intended, an oblique reference to the fact that people who haven't actually read/watched something are generally terrible judges of what information actually 'spoils' it. But that was pretty cryptic I guess.)

The basic point is: if you want everyone to adjust their behavior to match your standards of what "reasonably" constitutes a spoiler, and someone else comes along with a different idea of what "reasonably" constitutes a spoiler, where do you (un-hypocritically) tell them to get off? Hypothetical Trojan War Guy is just demanding the same level of courtesy that you demanded be extended to you; you may think they're unreasonable to expect discussion of the Trojan War be spoiler-tagged, but I think you're unreasonable to demand the same about Lord of the Rings and Life On Mars. What's the non-subjective difference?

We've established it's not the age of the work, so what exactly is the universe's cold objective standard for "a spoiler"? And don't give me "Just be as considerate as possible, okay!" - That's basically just saying "slide down the slippery slope, okay!" If we're always to err on the side of caution, we end up at the lowest common denominator, which, I imagine, is somewhere down around where Hypothetical Trojan War Guy thinks it should be, not where you think it should be.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:09 AM on June 1, 2011


And yes, the fact that phrase does not come directly from the Iliad was intended, an oblique reference to the fact that people who haven't actually read/watched something are generally terrible judges of what information actually 'spoils' it. But that was pretty cryptic I guess.

Dude, the Trojan horse doesn't come from the Iliad, not the phrase. Again, it's OK not to know things, but this kind of retrospective I-knew-all-along stuff just doesn't work.

Back ontopic - it's pretty clear to a relative newbie that a combination of the natural rhythms of speech on MetaFilter and the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory mean that there is never going to be a way to spoilerproof MetaFilter. If you try to push the issue, people will respond by posting spoilers. Given the bad-tempered nature of this discussion, it feels like this has happened already several time.

If you sincerely do not want to read anything about the upcoming (to you) episode of Doctor Who, the best thing to do is probably not to go to any post on Metafilter related to Doctor Who while the season is on. There are other communities which take spoilers more seriously, and which will probably enforce spoiler bars or tags or similar on current-run episodes and maybe even series. But they are explicitly discussion boards, whereas the discussion here is ancillary to the FPPs.

(On another board I frequented, we set up spoiler-containing and spoiler-free discussion threads for Doctor Who, although that led to endless arguments about whether speculation was a spoiler. Which it isn't, of course. I think there might have been another thread for people in the US, because the spoiler-free discussion thread got spoilery for them as soon as an episode aired in the UK. It got pretty messy.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:13 AM on June 1, 2011


And again, its generally easy to avoid spoilers.

This always reads to me as "it's generally easy for me to avoid spoilers if everyone else changes their conduct to accommodate me". If it's that important to be unspoiled, and you're on Metafilter particularly in MeTa, you probably have a good idea of how to solve that problem (hint: it involves bittorrent and the computer you're using to post here). But here we are having a problem over something that happened in the Wire and someone else telling me spoiler warnings are needed for the end of a movie made in 1963.

Sure, it's not particularly cool to talk about the twist ending to last night's episode of One of Metafilter's Favorite Shows that hasn't aired anywhere other than one country, and we got an apology and a deletion over that. But no, three- or four-year old media, never mind Citizen Kane or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or the Sixth Sense or whatever, is not something reasonable people should have to worry about spoiling. If someone says "hey, I haven't seen that, don't spoil me" in advance, again, it's polite not to ruin it for them, but who are all these hypothetical people who need protection from spoilage from 50-year-old movies?

You (for any value of you) have other priorities in life, like your kids or your job or whatever. So do the rest of us, and if we care about seeing media unspoiled, we make it our business to see things early and avoid places (physical and virtual) where we might be spoiled. If you don't want to do that, why should those of us who have seen Citizen Kane and Star Wars and last season's episodes of Doctor Who (which have not aired everywhere in the world, or so the Doctor Who newsfeeds tell me) prioritize your failure to get on with enjoying your media over our discussing it on Metafilter? And then when we talk about some particular piece of media we enjoyed, and somebody comes in and starts a MeTa about what assholes we are and how mean the mods are for not coming down on us like a ton of bricks, we're the rude awful people somehow!
posted by immlass at 7:17 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, so I've watched the first three episodes of the rebooted Doctor Who on Netflix and I have (spoiler!) fallen asleep all three times. :/

I tried, people! (see this comment for reference)


If you want to give it one more shot, try Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. I was all, 'OH MY GOD THIS SHOW IS SO CHEESY!" before those episodes hooked me. Usually, I hate watching things out of order, but I think it's okay with most nuWho, up until the Moffat days.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:19 AM on June 1, 2011


hammer and tongs... hammer and tongs folks.
posted by edgeways at 7:20 AM on June 1, 2011


But unless you actually are a sick child, there's a limit to how far I have to indulge shoddy argumentation to the effect that you were right all along.

Look, we're talking waaaaaay past each other now. I think I'm making a point about the attitude of the pro spoiler crowd. YOu seem to have fetish for certain imagery and name calling. Which always goes so well on the internet.

What are you hoping to get from this back and forth between you and I?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 AM on June 1, 2011


  • LiB continues to hang out in a thread where he knows spoilers have been dropped, so it's kinda hard to take his complaints seriously.
  • This is a thread about spoilers. You've been here long enough to know that people are going to randomly drop them in the thread, because that's always what happens, and yet you wandered in here anyway.
This is a MetaTalk thread about etiquette. On the topic of spoilers, etiquette remains a live and contested issue (despite the mods' stated policy: spoilers won't be deleted, and warnings aren't mandatory). There may be a near-zero chance of resolving that issue, but hey, I'd have said the same thing about those "boy zone" threads that used to occur. As long as the issue remains contested and people want to debate it, this is the appropriate place.

Trying to derail or obstruct that debate by posting random spoilers into the thread is a dick move, and should warrant a timeout. It has nothing to do with spoilers per se; it's about deliberately trying to fuck-up a legitimate conversation.

good stories aren't at all ruined by spoilers. Story telling (like the real life it reflects) isn't about the ending, it's about the journey it takes to get there.

I don't usually hear people complain that spoilers "ruin" stories. I think the complaint is that they detract. It seems to me that "ending vs. journey" is a false dichotomy. Most people enjoy both.
posted by cribcage at 7:29 AM on June 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't think there are any spoilers in this thread. On the other hand, this thread is loaded with spoilers (Citizen Kane, Ulysses, I didn't know about Molly's orgasm, the fucking Illiad, etc). I prefer to use concrete relevant examples of contemporary narratives to discuss what spoilers are and aren't. It's too subjective to be controlled and so if you have a huge problem with spoilers on metafilter it's your problem.
posted by fuq at 7:42 AM on June 1, 2011


What are you hoping to get from this back and forth between you and I?


Well, between you and me, what I was hoping to get was an acknowledgment that my views were not so simple as "good vs bad", as you would hopefully have understood if you had read my actual comment in any detail before pinning that quote to that straw man.

However, it's pretty clear at this point that I'm not going to get that, because you didn't have the sense to row back from your initial error, much less now you've doubled down. Your first attempt to muddy those waters involved editing a statement you had already quoted in full, and then bundling that edited quotation in with a bunch of other people's quotes. Now you are, hilariously, trying to claim the moral high ground while calling me a fetishist.

It's OK to be wrong, Brandon. It still is. And you've clearly been here long enough to determine that doubling down and then getting abusive works for you. However, it's an approach which I associate with children, and unless there is a particular reason for me to feel sorry for you and indulge you (like a sick child who just wants to enjoy Doctor Who unspoiled might move even the fiercest spoiler-poster here to a respectful silence) I don't think encouraging childish behavior is a responsible thing to do.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:50 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude, the Trojan horse doesn't come from the Iliad, not the phrase. Again, it's OK not to know things, but this kind of retrospective I-knew-all-along stuff just doesn't work.

Is it really that hard to imagine someone who only knows that the Iliad is about the Trojan War, and doesn't know how it ends (the book, not the war) complaining about spoilers? It's not hard for me, but then I once seriously had someone complain I was spoiling Lord of the Rings for them by talking about how Bilbo got the Ring from Gollum (they also then refused to draw a distinction between the Hobbit and the "rest" of LotR, so it's not quite the same, since without that distinction they were sort of correct, I suppose) in a discussion of riddles. There's tons of vampire lore that doesn't come from Dracula, for another example, but someone who hasn't read Dracula can't make that distinction in their ongoing requests not to be "spoiled" on Dracula. Or substitute any number of things that sound Biblical but aren't actually in the Bible (but could somehow be construed of as spoiler-y; granted I can't think of one).

Not that I want to stop you from believing that I am an uncouth charlatan talking about books I haven't read, or whatever it is you seem to want to believe; whether or not I've read the Iliad is really not at all related to the point I'm making, so if you want to believe I haven't, you're wrong, but knock yourself out (okay, there are some sections I haven't read. Someday I'll get around to reading the end of Book 18, so you better not spoil it by telling me who wins the battle depicted on the shield!)

Basically: 1.) leaving what's spoiler-warning-worthy up to the squeakiest wheel to decide is a terrible way of doing things, because, among other reasons, the squeakiest wheel is frequently not the most-informed (when the issue is spoilers, they pretty much by definition won't be). And 2.) it seems like the person who came here to pick fights is you, ROSF, not Brandon Blatcher.

on preview:
It's too subjective to be controlled and so if you have a huge problem with spoilers on metafilter it's your problem.

This, exactly.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:53 AM on June 1, 2011


I sort of like this no man is bigger than metafilter approach. Comforting so long as you are not that one man.
posted by oxford blue at 7:54 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


mstokes650: I'd disagree with some of the meat of this, but I take your point; my irritation at getting straw-manned by Brandon may well have jaundiced my view of the whole Trojan horse megillah. So, sorry about that. You're quite right.

That said, trick question! Nobody wins the battle raging on the shield, because otherwise there wouldn't be a battle raging on the shield any more. Consider yourself spoiled.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:03 AM on June 1, 2011


cribcage: " Trying to derail or obstruct that debate by posting random spoilers into the thread is a dick move, and should warrant a timeout. It has nothing to do with spoilers per se; it's about deliberately trying to fuck-up a legitimate conversation."

He's making a point. It's worth discussing, at the very least.

We have people here declaring that they should be protected from anyone mentioning plot points of a television show that ended three years ago. Three years! The Wire was cancelled in 2008!

Be polite, sure. Requests for politeness are great. Actual politeness is better. I'm all for it.

But if someone's going to demand a statute of limitations for spoilers, at what point does it become unreasonable or unmanageable? When does it simply become a call for censorship?
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on June 1, 2011


I'm glad that no one watches the show I like, because the plot twists and turns are its major appeal. A quick search reveals that it's never even been mentioned here. Surprising, because it's a good show. (Btw, she didn't do it.)
posted by desjardins at 8:34 AM on June 1, 2011


Nobody cares about Lazy Town anymore, desjardins.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:41 AM on June 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm glad that no one watches the show I like, because the plot twists and turns are its major appeal. A quick search reveals that it's never even been mentioned here. Surprising, because it's a good show.

*SPOILER ALERT*

One Life to Live got cancelled.

* END SPOILER ALERT*
posted by dflemingecon at 8:42 AM on June 1, 2011


Forget it, Jake. It's Lazytown.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:01 AM on June 1, 2011


HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY???
posted by jtron at 9:04 AM on June 1, 2011


Pinkie Pie learns a valuable lesson, which she then promptly forgets.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:12 AM on June 1, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: LiB continues to hang out in a thread where he knows spoilers have been dropped, so it's kinda hard to take his complaints seriously.

I personally hate spoilers, and love it when people add spoiler warnings. However, I think it is unreasonable to ask people to always remember to do that, and I do not expect to be able to read threads about a movie/tv show/book without spoilers (so I think this metatalk is kind of silly).

However, since this is a thread about spoiler etiquette, I find it fucking ridiculous that you suggest people who don't like spoilers should just not participate because there are spoilers here. WTF? It feels like the "why are you hitting yourself" treatment from the bully on the playground.

Is this point too subtle for you?
posted by ericost at 9:30 AM on June 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why do we have to accept that, Justinian? Tell me, have you seen every Hitchcock film?

Who said anything about accepting it? It's already a fait accompli. It's people who don't want everything in the world spoiler protected that must be convinced to accept a new paradigm... and that isn't going to happen.

No, I haven't seen every Hitchcock film. Hell, I haven't even seen Psycho. Really. And yet I don't feel bad because I already know that Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) is a crazy mom-obsessed serial killer and that Janet Leigh dies in an iconic shower scene. Because it happened fifty goddamn years ago. I've also never seen Shane. I do not feel bad because I know the very last scene is very important and that a lot of people interpret it to mean that Shane (John Wayne) has suffered a mortal gunshot wound. And so on.

So I think you're making exactly the opposite point you are trying to make.
posted by Justinian at 9:49 AM on June 1, 2011


Well, between you and me, what I was hoping to get was an acknowledgment that my views were not so simple as "good vs bad", as you would hopefully have understood if you had read my actual comment in any detail before pinning that quote to that straw man.

Your other points don't matter. You ran through the list of possibilities, noted that none of them were going to happen on Metafilter and then wrote it that it's comes down to how much one cares about other people's feelings. You reduced to a simplistic level in the end, so yes, that was the point I was replying to. It's the only important point, as it seems to the one the pro spoiler crowd is leaning on most heavily.

However, since this is a thread about spoiler etiquette, I find it fucking ridiculous that you suggest people who don't like spoilers should just not participate because there are spoilers here. WTF?

The conversation drifted, as conversations do. Various aspects of Doctor Who, Life on Mars and The Wire have been discussed. To insist that the thread is about THIS ONE PARTICULAR SUBJECT at this point doesn't hold up.

And if one doesn't want to read spoilers, they should avoid threads they know contain spoilers for a show they haven't seen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM on June 1, 2011


Once again I notice you left out the other half of that sentence, and once again you try to put me into the "pro spoiler crowd"1, as far as I can tell on no evidence whatsoever. Between this and the rushed and mangled English in your responses, I am not sure whether the problem is that my approach is simplistic. I think it might be that your reading is superficial and your engagement hurried.

However, as I say, doubling down on being wrong has clearly worked for you in the past, and I can't imagine a mere fledgling like me is going to dissuade you from that as an approach here. So, one might as well just post comedy spoilers here at this point.

SPOILER: There is an argument on the Internet.

1 I assume this means "pro spoiler warnings", although Artw used the same term to mean the exact opposite.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:12 AM on June 1, 2011


Shane (John Wayne)

Am I spoiling you if I tell you Shane wasn't played by John Wayne? Cause he wasn't.
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:17 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The conversation drifted, as conversations do. Various aspects of Doctor Who, Life on Mars and The Wire have been discussed. To insist that the thread is about THIS ONE PARTICULAR SUBJECT at this point doesn't hold up.

Yes, the dropping of spoilers in a thread about spoiler etiquette did contribute to conversation drift. But good god man, IT IS THE DRIFTING TO THOSE TOPICS WHICH I AM SAYING SUCKS.

And if one doesn't want to read spoilers, they should avoid threads they know contain spoilers for a show they haven't seen.

No shit. But holy mother from hell, can you not see how in this thread it effectively drives away from the conversation people who don't want want to read spoilers? It is a dick move to come into a conversation about when spoilers are OK or not and drop spoilers. Well, more likely it could also be just an honest mistake. But to defend it after the fact and suggest people who don't like it can simply go elsewhere is effectively cutting them off from the conversation. And to say something like "the thread has drifted and is not just about spoiler etiquette, it's also about specific spoilers because see specific spoilers have been discussed so the topic has changed" is to miss the point in a fundamental way.
posted by ericost at 10:21 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I spoiling you if I tell you Shane wasn't played by John Wayne? Cause he wasn't.

HAH! It was Ladd, right? I was thinking about True Grit/Rooster Cogburn, I think.

See? Spoilers for old stuff is stupid.
posted by Justinian at 10:22 AM on June 1, 2011


Yep. Alan Ladd.
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:23 AM on June 1, 2011


The whole spoiler discussion here shows that people obviously have very different reactions to encountering a spoiler. Me, I'm one of the people who don't care at all about knowing the ending of anything - it's the journey to the ending that I enjoy. If the movie, novel, whatever sucks I don't care about the surprise ending and vice-versa. But that's just me and I get the fact that some people feel obviously different so I don't go out of my way to spoil something for somebody. Dick move that. I try to be reasonably responsible in that regard.

But L-I-B, I love a lot of what you write but I have to tell you that, well to my eyes, some of the hits that you're taking here are along the lines of that you are asking too much (not 'spoiling' The Wire, etc). You're obviously a person who is really troubled by encountering a spoiler and the experience ruins the story for you. I get that and I respect that. I do think that you have a responsibility , knowing that you are affected in such a manner by spoilers, to stay out of media threads where it's entirely possible that someone might spoil something.

It's a matter of personal responsibility and , just as we should exercise personal responsibility in not intentionally giving away recent endings, you need to exercise a similar amount of responsibility and not ask us all to adjust our behavior to accommodate your personal preferences. You know that MeFi does not do the spoiler taggy thing and you know that there are bazillions of places on the web that do and forcefully enforce it. The responsible thing to do is to change your own behavior so that you stay out of any media thread here that could possibly ruin the experience for you, since you know that this is a real hot button for you and you do have plenty alternatives for discussion elsewhere where spoiler rules are strictly enforced.

People shouldn't be asses and intentionally ruin things for other people. And people who are really sensitive to something need to alter their own personal behaviors to avoid the thing that sets them off rather then expecting the larger community to accommodate all their hot buttons. FWIW , it's just how I feel about it.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2011


ericost :No shit. But holy mother from hell, can you not see how in this thread it effectively drives away from the conversation people who don't want want to read spoilers?

Can you not see that it works both ways? People who might like to discuss an episode a couple of weeks old or make a related comment to it somewhere are driven away by the prospect of getting hassled about it. We're all so self-centered , and I include myself here of course. We think the way we feel is the way everyone else feels and when we all get together on the internet conflict ensues. I think that the reality is probably more likely that people like myself , who don't care about spoilers at all (and in fact seek them out) as well as people like yourself, to whom spoilers ruin the entire experience and get you upset, are probably both in the minority. I suspect that most people don't care too much either way . I enjoy rumors and spoilers about upcoming episodes of shows that I like and would love to discuss what I've found out with others but I moderate that behavior in forums like this one because I understand that I am in the minority in that regard.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:49 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Once again I notice you left out the other half of that sentence, and once again you try to put me into the "pro spoiler crowd"1, as far as I can tell on no evidence whatsoever.

Would you like to have the last word on this, is that it?

Yes, the dropping of spoilers in a thread about spoiler etiquette did contribute to conversation drift. But good god man, IT IS THE DRIFTING TO THOSE TOPICS WHICH I AM SAYING SUCKS.

Dude, that's like complaining because death it happens. It's going to happen whether you like it or not, so complaining about it seems silly, IMO. Neat conversations happen partially due to topic and subject drift, it's a good thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2011


As I've said, Brandon, doubling down on being wrong is presumably something you have found profitable during your time here. If you see responding to incoherent and inaccurate claims as trying to get the last word, that's entirely your business, and it does give you the opportunity to deliver another little personal insult.

I imagine long experience has demonstrated that you can wear most people down like this, and I doubt I am exceptional. Keep going: I'm bound to give up at some point, and then you will ... have ... won? I guess?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:12 AM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Poet_Lariat : Can you not see that it works both ways? People who might like to discuss an episode a couple of weeks old or make a related comment to it somewhere are driven away by the prospect of getting hassled about it.

I'm talking about this thread in particular.

Brandon Blatcher: Dude, that's like complaining because death it happens. It's going to happen whether you like it or not, so complaining about it seems silly, IMO.

IMO, quietly resigning yourself to everthing because it is going to happen whether you like it or no way to live. I think, actually, you share this opinion yourself. Because otherwise you'd STFU more often.
posted by ericost at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


* whether you like it or not is no way to live
posted by ericost at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2011


IMO, quietly resigning yourself to everthing because it is going to happen whether you like it or no way to live.

Then fight, damn you, FIGHT. DON'T YOU QUIT ON ME!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:30 AM on June 1, 2011


Back ontopic:

The responsible thing to do is to change your own behavior so that you stay out of any media thread here that could possibly ruin the experience for you, since you know that this is a real hot button for you and you do have plenty alternatives for discussion elsewhere where spoiler rules are strictly enforced.

Or, alternatively, not take people to task about it if they do share spoilers - the edge case then being when spoilers appear in threads where they could not reasonably be expected to appear. Whether or not a video of old-style Doctor Who shootings things could reasonably be expected to lead to spoilers about the latest episode of the new series is... well, pretty much the issue under discussion. What is a "media thread", in these contexts?

It's a matter of personal responsibility and , just as we should exercise personal responsibility in not intentionally giving away recent endings, you need to exercise a similar amount of responsibility and not ask us all to adjust our behavior to accommodate your personal preferences.

I would have agreed, until cribcage brought up the boyzone stuff. That raises an interesting question - that if one feels strongly about an issue, and the moderators have not clearly stated that this will never be addressed to your satisfaction, is it the right thing to keep bringing it up when it seems to you relevant? I think there's a big gap between sexism and spoilers in terms of what ruins more people's days - although in 2002 there might have been more people who didn't want spoilers on MetaFilter than women - but for some people it is clearly felt very deeply - to the point where that rather jaw-dropping comparison by Eideteker seemed at least not a ludicrous thing to say. By which logic, the impression is given that the right thing to do is to observe the social contract (not calling people out in threads), while continuing to agitate for change (in MetaTalk). And the only way to end that cycle would be a definitive statement by the moderators that there will never be any mechanism to deal with spoilers, or censure for those who share them. Otherwise, the logical thing to do is to keep calling it out when it happens - to keep the argument going.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:37 AM on June 1, 2011


IMO, quietly resigning yourself to everthing because it is going to happen whether you like it or no way to live. I think, actually, you share this opinion yourself. Because otherwise you'd STFU more often.

I guess you are not hearing what I an trying to communicate. I said nothing about quietly resigning yourself to everything. What I was trying to communicate is taking a level of personal responsibility in avoiding situations where one knows one will be affected adversely as opposed to trying to enforce one's personal code of ethics upon a larger community .

For instance, I know full well that by entering onto a community forum , even one as well fun as MeFi, I will inevitably encounter some anti-social a-hole who can only communicate his (or her) message by taking some uncalled for dig at someone else. Personally I think such people are below contempt. But I don't whine and cry and try to enforce some personal code of civility that I have. Instead I take it in stride and ignore the worst offenders and/or ignore the incivility of the lesser ones. I know that my standards are different and am in a minority so I take the responsibility to alter my behavior rather then (futilely) attempting to impose my standards on everyone else. This is how people get along. This is how people in communities don't end up killing each other . This is just , imho, very basic social functioning in a wider world with more diverse standards than my own .
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:37 AM on June 1, 2011


As I've said, Brandon, doubling down on being wrong is presumably something you have found profitable during your time here.

Makes the favorites appear fluffier and gives them a shiny coat. I don't know about profitable, but I know about fluffy dammit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:44 AM on June 1, 2011


Poet_Lariat: I guess you are not hearing what I an trying to communicate. I said nothing about quietly resigning yourself to everything.

The thing you quoted from me was in response to something someone else said. I largely agree with what you've said.

Brandon Blatcher: Then fight

You make metafilter a worse place.
posted by ericost at 11:53 AM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


And the only way to end that cycle would be a definitive statement by the moderators that there will never be any mechanism to deal with spoilers, or censure for those who share them.

People who overspoil will be asked politely not to do it if it seems to be a thing with them. We'll tuck spoilers beneath the fold if people ask and we think the thing is spoil-y enough. This comes up rarely. We have no plans to implement any sort of built in spoiler mechanism on the site. People are welcome to employ non-obtrusive spoiler mechanics on their own comments if they want, but we'll step in if a thread seems to be turning into pure ROT-13 [this also comes up rarely].

I think you are overstating the degree to which us making any sort of definitive statement will end anything. All these things have been said before.

And yes, people who are touchy about spoilers need to be able to talk about them in MeTa without people making a lot of lulzy spoiler jokes in a place where spoiler-touchy people are necessarily going to be. So, please don't do that. Passive aggressive intentional spoilers are, though not deleteworthy most of the time, needlessly hostile to people who are part of this conversation. I'm sure for people who don't care about spoilers, it's hard to tell where this line lies, but in MeTa where we're having a conversation about this sort of thing, it's more important to really make an effort to not just needle people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Given that the entire point of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is the twist, I'd actually have to side with whoever was complaining about it being spoiled openly.
To be fair to the spoilers, that story was published more than a century ago. If you hadn't read it by 1895, really it's your own fault.
posted by roystgnr at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2011


Someone bake Brandon a pie or something.
posted by desjardins at 12:22 PM on June 1, 2011


running order squabble fest: " And the only way to end that cycle would be a definitive statement by the moderators that there will never be any mechanism to deal with spoilers, or censure for those who share them. "

This was discussed at length at the end of April and the beginning of May, when some folks tried to lobby for a spoiler tag. The lobby failed.

Official site policy is that the mods deal with spoilers when they are overtly problematic:
"We are not implementing the spoiler tag. We'd really really like people to not turn threads into ROT-13 wastelands, but it's not at the point yet that we'll delete ROT-13 stuff unless there's a really huge push for that. People need to take care about spoilers if they don't want things spoiled for them. We will, sometimes, put spoilers behind the fold or otherwise behind a link.
But mostly, we are expected to police ourselves, like adults.
Generally, people on Metafilter seem already to be doing a pretty solid job of being considerate about spoilers; we don't regularly see people being prankish about spoilers or injecting random significant spoilers into threads where they'd be genuinely unexpected, and when those things do happen people are pretty prompt about pointing it out.

This is more an issue of whether the standing policy of "avoid threads about x if you want not to encounter spoilers about x" should be supplanted by a "mefites are expected to use a spoiler tag/mechanism whenever writing spoilers about x in threads about x". Because there is no practical middle ground: either we set the site expectation that spoilers will henceforth be munged, or we're still where we are right now with Reader Beware but also with more complicated policy arguments and more confusing reader expectations about where an only semi-reliable spoiler convention comes into play.
Otherwise, the mods have been clear that they're not implementing further mechanisms to deal with spoilers:
"It doesn't solve the spoiler problem unless there is a way to really enforce it and with the way this site is built that sort of user education isn't going to happen. On smaller fan-sites where there is more of a common culture, this sort of thing is a lot easier to top-down dictate. On a site like this with light moderation, we can't police it, we can't even agree what a spoiler is, in many cases."
And:
- the spoiler thing comes up like once out of every 500 posts, this is not a community dedicated to the sorts of things that spoilers are important for. This sort of thing comes up twice a year according to Rhaomi's link
- we're not going to be able to get people to use spoiler tags consistently, people will not do it because they don't know how [we can't get them to use HTML, let's be honest about how well we could get them to use spoiler tags] or because they just feel peevish. I don't want to patrol those people and I don't want them drummed out of the community and I do not want to create a spoiler HTML button.
- people who are annoyed by spoilers are not going to be happy with 95% spoiler-free posts, we cannot commit to 100% spoiler-free posts
posted by zarq at 12:28 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You make metafilter a worse place.

You complained about creating a hostile environment, then turned about and implied I was an an idiot, a bully, yelled and cursed at me and throughout it all mixed in condescending attitude for good measure. I cracked a joke and suddenly I make Metafilter a worst place? Riiiiight.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on June 1, 2011


Jessamyn: I think you are overstating the degree to which us making any sort of definitive statement will end anything. All these things have been said before.

You're almost certainly right. It just struck me that there was an odd structural element here, where if one felt strongly about something one almost might find it advisable to keep raising it in MetaTalk, in order to continue to make it clear that this was a live issue which demanded further discussion.

So - and thanks, zarq for that very comprehensive run-through of the history - it would currently be OK for someone posting a spoilery statement about, say, the latest episode of Doctor Who in a thread not related to the latest episode of Doctor Who to do so in ROT13, but if the conversation took off it would need to move out of ROT13 before it became an impediment to understanding the discussion. That makes sense, although I suspect the set of people who would care enough to put it in ROT13 and the set of people who would post a spoiler at all possibly don't overlap too much. But on the whole MetaFilter is not set up for the kind of discussions where spoilers are an issue, so does not have developed mechanisms to address spoilery statements, and will not have them in the future.

At which point it comes down to informing the community about what you think constitutes a spoiler and leave them to consider the impact on you and how much they feel it would justify changing their behavior. Which is pretty much what I said here, on reflection.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:19 PM on June 1, 2011


implied I was an an idiot, a bully, yelled and cursed at me and throughout it all mixed in condescending attitude for good measure

versus

cracked a joke

You're lying to yourself and others.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:41 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Then fight

You make metafilter a worse place.
posted by ericost at 4:53 AM on June 2 [2 favorites +] [!]


For the record, I got the joke, and smiled.
posted by bystander at 1:50 PM on June 1, 2011


So - and thanks, zarq for that very comprehensive run-through of the history

You're quite welcome.
posted by zarq at 1:55 PM on June 1, 2011


desjardins: "Someone bake Brandon a pie or something."

Crow Pie? :D
posted by zarq at 2:03 PM on June 1, 2011


You might want to reconsider that phrasing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:31 PM on June 1, 2011


holy smokes...i had nothing in live preview...how did you know
posted by clavdivs at 2:35 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: "You might want to reconsider that phrasing."

I don't get it?

It's probably something incredibly obvious, but I'm just not seeing it.
posted by zarq at 2:37 PM on June 1, 2011




I don't think there are any spoilers in this thread. On the other hand, this thread is loaded with spoilers (Citizen Kane, Ulysses, I didn't know about Molly's orgasm, the fucking Illiad, etc). I prefer to use concrete relevant examples of contemporary narratives to discuss what spoilers are and aren't. It's too subjective to be controlled and so if you have a huge problem with spoilers on metafilter it's your problem.


Wow, this is a seriously dickish statement.

And the 'THREE YEARS' thing is for America. And what does it matter the age of the media? Again, my Wednesday routine now is to watch Fringe (aired last year in America) and Sons of Anarchy (aired two years ago in America). There are shows that I like to watch episodically. There's a station here that showed the original UK Prisoner in order for a few months. That was fun! There are shows like the recent Scooby Doo or Batman: Brave and the Bold that I watch whenever they're on.

THREE YEARS.

I'm supposed to have seen every important movie and TV show from THREE YEARS ago. Read every good book. Played every good videogame.

Another example: I'm thinking of starting Breaking Bad soon. I've avoided spoilers on that, somehow.

Who the fuck are you to judge the time limits on the consumption of media?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:38 PM on June 1, 2011



This always reads to me as "it's generally easy for me to avoid spoilers if everyone else changes their conduct to accommodate me". If it's that important to be unspoiled, and you're on Metafilter particularly in MeTa, you probably have a good idea of how to solve that problem (hint: it involves bittorrent and the computer you're using to post here). But here we are having a problem over something that happened in the Wire and someone else telling me spoiler warnings are needed for the end of a movie made in 1963.


I live in a different country. A country where they put limits on how much I can download a month. Currently, that's 6 gigs. If I go over, I get charged lots of money. Barbaric? Primitive? yes, but that's how it is.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:39 PM on June 1, 2011


Shut up shut up shut up!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:43 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who the fuck are you to judge the time limits on the consumption of media?

The answer to this is: The person consuming the media gets to judge, and in so judging, gives up some control over how/when/if something gets spoiled. It may be reasonable to ask friends to not tell you about the movie you haven't seen yet that's still in theaters. It may be quite unreasonable to ask multisubject internet fora with thousands of members to avoid discussing something that is two years old or fifty years old or three months old.

The reality is you're not going to get what you want, in large part because no one here except you knows what you don't want spoiled, and no one here is going to avoid discussing To Kill a Mockingbird (for instance) because you might not have read it and you might see an otherwise unrelated thread where the book came up tangentially.
posted by rtha at 4:56 PM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Who the fuck are you to judge the time limits on the consumption of media?

By the same token, who the fuck are you to tell me or Brandon or anybody else what to talk about on the blue? I'm not judging you; I'm shooting the breeze with people on the internet.

I'm sorry about your internet caps, but again: that's your decision to live within them or prioritize where you spend your money. Download less other stuff (like music) or give up your latte or Egg McMuffin or whatever or don't go to shows so often or something if it's that big of a deal not to OMG RUIN TV shows or movies or whatever for you. You (for any value of you) have control over a lot of things in this equation: your decision to participate in various threads on Metafilter, your priorities in obtaining/seeing media, and your attitude towards whatever information you encounter about media you want to enjoy. The thing you don't have any control over is the thing spoilerphobes insisting on changing: everybody else's behavior.

There are TV shows and movies I'd like to see that I don't have enough time and or money (i.e., it's not a high enough priority for me to buy now and/or watch now) that may get spoiled before I get around to seeing it. Ditto for books. Maybe I'll get spoiled, and maybe that'll suck, but life is hard, to the extent that a first-world problem like knowing the details of some TV show before I see it can really be considered a hardship.
posted by immlass at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


6 gigs in a MONTH? HOLY SHIT. I weep for you, Australia.
posted by desjardins at 5:37 PM on June 1, 2011


Oh tosh, Australia isn't some digital back water. If Lovecraft can only download 6 gigs a month than that is likely a budgetary decision. Weep for Lovecraft, not for Australia.
posted by oxford blue at 5:46 PM on June 1, 2011


6 gigs in a MONTH? HOLY SHIT. I weep for you, Australia.
It's nonsense. I'm on a plan that allows 100GB peak and 100GB offpeak, and can go as high as 500/500. The lowest plan is 10GB peak and 10GB offpeak (and they throw a phone in). Lovecraft In Brooklyn needs to change his provider.
posted by unliteral at 5:59 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


unliteral: Lovecraft In Brooklyn needs to change his provider.

Not to mention his diaper.
posted by gman at 6:04 PM on June 1, 2011


ta-tum-tahhh!
posted by Meatbomb at 6:21 PM on June 1, 2011



6 gigs in a MONTH? HOLY SHIT. I weep for you, Australia.
It's nonsense. I'm on a plan that allows 100GB peak and 100GB offpeak, and can go as high as 500/500. The lowest plan is 10GB peak and 10GB offpeak (and they throw a phone in). Lovecraft In Brooklyn needs to change his provider.


What plan? I'm stick with mobile Internet.

And again, don't drop random spoilers in a thread about spoilers. Simple.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:54 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


so your browsing time is limited huh
posted by clavdivs at 6:58 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The major problem in my view that I don't really see people addressing is that a spoiler warning is beneficial to those people who don't enjoy being spoiled and completely neutral to those who don't care, while unmarked spoilers are obviously detrimental to those who don't like spoilers and still neutral to those people who don't care. Why would marking spoilers as a general rule be a bad thing, then?

immlass: 'You should stop caring about this issue because Darfur war orphans are starving and they're suffering more than you are' is as valid for you as it is for everyone else. You should go help them instead of talking on the internet.
posted by flatluigi at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


GEORGE CLOONEY!
*spoiler; He may or may not be a MeFi.
posted by clavdivs at 8:03 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


immlass: 'You should stop caring about this issue because Darfur war orphans are starving and they're suffering more than you are' is as valid for you as it is for everyone else. You should go help them instead of talking on the internet.

I wasn't thinking of Darfur war orphans at all, actually. I was thinking about a diabetic of my acquaintance who talks about his experience with sugar, a substance that's hard to avoid but one that will make him very ill or even kill him if he consumes too much of it. The thing is, sugar is everywhere and limiting your exposure to it means you have to turn down a lot of things you might want to eat. It really sucks to be a diabetic when all that tasty food is out there, but life is hard and unfair. Still, he has a good attitude: "sugar is everywhere and it's up t me not to eat it", so he reads his labels and turns down sugary foods. This pleases me, because I'd like him to live to a ripe old age.

I'd like the same thing for you and Artw and LiB, but if y'all all have aneurysms from Doctor Who spoilers, it won't be for my lack of warning you to stay out of those threads.
posted by immlass at 8:55 PM on June 1, 2011


The major problem in my view that I don't really see people addressing is that a spoiler warning is beneficial to those people who don't enjoy being spoiled and completely neutral to those who don't care

It's not necessarily completely neutral. They interrupt the flow of a comment and range from annoying to obnoxious depending on the method used. That isn't to say they are not appropriate in some cases but to call them neutral at worst is not accurate. ROT13 on Metafilter is about as far from completely neutral as you can get, to pick one example.

The more effective a spoiler warning or spoiler munging is, the more annoying it must be by necessity. The converse is also true; the less annoying a spoiler warning is, the less effective it will be because it will be easy to overlook or skip without thinking.
posted by Justinian at 8:56 PM on June 1, 2011


Dear artw

Thank you for your request. It seems reasonable enough. I promise I won't post any spoilers about the latest Doctor Who episode:

- on the front page
- in any non-Doctor Who thread
- in any active Doctor Who thread without giving plenty of warning about spoilers.

I think a couple of weeks after the episode airs in the UK is probably enough for the US (and Australia) to catch up. I probably won't put spoiler warnings around discussions about episodes after that time in current Doctor Who threads, though naturally I'll refrain from talking about them in non-Doctor Who threads for quite a bit longer than that.

Take care
obiwanwasabi
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:10 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The more effective a spoiler warning or spoiler munging is, the more annoying it must be by necessity.

Again, a simple SPOILER






with a few blank lines before the spoiling text has for a decade or two now been the easiest, most effective way to be courteous on this issue. It's *very* effective, and *not* very annoying.
posted by mediareport at 9:14 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The more effective a spoiler warning or spoiler munging is, the more annoying it must be by necessity.

Again, a simple SPOILER






with a few blank lines before the spoiling text has for a decade or two now been the easiest, most effective way to be courteous on this issue. It's *very* effective, and *not* very annoying.


I would actually find
posted by lalex at 11:05 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The more effective a spoiler warning or spoiler munging is, the more annoying it must be by necessity.

Again, a simple SPOILER






with a few blank lines before the spoiling text has for a decade or two now been the easiest, most effective way to be courteous on this issue. It's *very* effective, and *not* very annoying.


more than a couple comments like this
posted by lalex at 11:05 PM on June 1, 2011


The more effective a spoiler warning or spoiler munging is, the more annoying it must be by necessity.

Again, a simple SPOILER








with a few blank lines before the spoiling text has for a decade or two now been the easiest, most effective way to be courteous on this issue. It's *very* effective, and *not* very annoying.


extremely annoying
posted by lalex at 11:06 PM on June 1, 2011


The problem with this is












Your eye naturally skips the gap and starts to read the line in the process of determining where to start reading again.
posted by oxford blue at 11:07 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


On non-preview,









I totally agree.
posted by lalex at 11:08 PM on June 1, 2011


Plus this is disrespectful for the people that print out metafilter to read at the chiropodist or at the queue in the market.
posted by oxford blue at 11:08 PM on June 1, 2011 [8 favorites]

It's not necessarily completely neutral. They interrupt the flow of a comment and range from annoying to obnoxious depending on the method used. That isn't to say they are not appropriate in some cases but to call them neutral at worst is not accurate. ROT13 on Metafilter is about as far from completely neutral as you can get, to pick one example.

The more effective a spoiler warning or spoiler munging is, the more annoying it must be by necessity. The converse is also true; the less annoying a spoiler warning is, the less effective it will be because it will be easy to overlook or skip without thinking.
I'm completely against ROT-13 for those reasons you stated, actually! I feel that spoiler tags would be the least intrusive way to mark spoilers, but failing that a simple (SPOILERS FOR ENDING OF THIS MESSAGE) uppercase, eye-catching phrase in-line is the easiest way to mark it, with an end spoilers mark on the next line.

(END SPOILERS)
posted by flatluigi at 8:30 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: Needlessly hostile to people who are part of this conversation.
posted by Zozo at 9:32 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Looks like the actress playing River Song isn't going to be able to demand a pay rise any time soon.

















Spoiler Alert.
posted by seanyboy at 12:39 PM on June 4, 2011


Asshole.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:01 PM on June 4, 2011


This is almost certainly one of those cases where using rot13 would be OK with the mods. If you did that, you could drop spoilers and not be a dick about it.

¡ʎsɐƎ oS ˙pɐǝɥ ɹnoʎ uo puɐʇs ʇsnɾ sı op oʇ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ llɐ sɹǝlıods puıɯ ʇ,uop noʎ ɟı puɐ sıɥʇ ǝʞıl ǝdʎʇ oʇ pǝɹınbǝɹ ǝq plnoɥs ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ ʇɐɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ I ˙˙˙ oN 'oN
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:34 AM on June 5, 2011


Poet_Lariat: "¡ʎsɐƎ oS ˙pɐǝɥ ɹnoʎ uo puɐʇs ʇsnɾ sı op oʇ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ llɐ sɹǝlıods puıɯ ʇ,uop noʎ ɟı puɐ sıɥʇ ǝʞıl ǝdʎʇ oʇ pǝɹınbǝɹ ǝq plnoɥs ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ ʇɐɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ I ˙˙˙ oN 'oN"

So I was helping a friend over jabber with some Xorg configuration issues, and in reviewing the args to xrandr I was reminded that you could use "xrandr --reflect -x" to turn your monitor mirror image. So I try that for the hell of it and I'm like "LOL that's pretty goofy lemme try --reflect y too". Then I mention that I am doing this to my jabber buddy and he decides to start sending me inverted text like that. While I am already having to work 10x as hard to read because my monitor is reflected in both x and y. Then I realize that --reflect is not a toggle - specifying it twice does not undo the reflection.

Ever try to read a man page in the diagonal cartesian reflection? Even editing my command line or using the mouse was disorienting. For a solid hour after I figured it out everything I read (even nonreflected) looked kind of wrong.
posted by idiopath at 12:27 PM on June 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


¡ʎsɐƎ oS ˙pɐǝɥ ɹnoʎ uo puɐʇs ʇsnɾ sı op oʇ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ llɐ sɹǝlıods puıɯ ʇ,uop noʎ ɟı puɐ sıɥʇ ǝʞıl ǝdʎʇ oʇ pǝɹınbǝɹ ǝq plnoɥs ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ ʇɐɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ I ˙˙˙ oN 'oN


Actually.... That's... sort of awesome.

It's easy to read as is on any computer, with just a tiny bit of extra mental processing, which means I can't possibly read it by accident, but can choose to read it at pretty much normal speed.

(It also works on any device since it needs no hovering, and without having to try to copy and paste it into another webpage (obviously a hassle on android and iOS))

I think you were kidding, but I love this.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:45 PM on June 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


/resurfacing.

I actually really like that too - how exactly are you doing that?
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on June 13, 2011


ǝɹǝɥ oƃ ʇsnſ
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, at the end of 400 odd comment thread that's largely about what an asshole I am for suggetsing that sometimes you might want to be a little circumspect about posting spoilers might be an odd place to say this, but I might steal that for the userscript.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on June 13, 2011


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