Spoilers should not be deletable May 3, 2014 8:20 AM   Subscribe

In this thread, there's a note about spoilery comments being deleted. I don't think that's a good policy to hold here; the comments were (presumably) not harmful to members, and should not have been axed.

I don't personally have a horse in this race; I'm lurking in the post, not posting, and I've read the books, but even so, deletion is an excessive response to spoilers in general, and more so to spoilers in a thread that specifically calls out that it may contain them.

Am I wildly out of tune with the community on this one? I don't think so.
posted by ChrisR to Etiquette/Policy at 8:20 AM (273 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You are unfortunately out of sync with the majority, or at least unaware of massive flame-basted arguments by vocal sections of the userbase on this very forum about how horrible spoilers, especially for the sacrosanct GOT, are.

I agree with you, I think spoilers are to be expected everywhere on the internet, and that policing them causes more trouble than it's worth, but that ship has sailed for Metafilter.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:26 AM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I agree with ChrisR. Spoiler policy from FanFare should stay on FanFare.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:27 AM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I agree that in general, that we usually aren't quick to delete spoilers on the blue; we would normally only delete really line-crossing jerkish spoilers (major plot points, or needling someone by deliberately revealing something to ruin it for them, for example).

In that thread, there were several comments that seemed to be about minor plot points, which were flagged a bit but I left them. Then toward the end of the thread, there was a comment about what seemed like it could be a more important plot point (that a character comes back), and I left that for a few hours because I wasn't clear how big a deal it was... but it picked up more flags and then there were followup comments elaborating on it, and at that point I figured I would stop that line of spoilerish comments.

My sense in this case was, the post is about dragons and the comments weren't about dragons but getting into wider discussion of the Game of Thrones world, so sort of a sidetrack and also maybe cross the spoiler line. Plus folks have been a little extra sensitive about GOT spoilers lately, so that also made me a little more prone to delete them than otherwise.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:28 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also agree with you, especially since the post contained a warning that the thread would be discussing the books!
posted by lalex at 8:29 AM on May 3, 2014


I should also say, it's very possible I guessed wrong about how much of a big-deal spoiler the specific thing was.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:39 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


we would normally only delete really line-crossing jerkish spoilers (major plot points,

... but it picked up more flags and then there were followup comments elaborating on it,


Wait, who cares how many flags it got? What happened to no spoilers above the fold, caveat reader in the thread? When did that change?
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:41 AM on May 3, 2014 [23 favorites]


Haven't been reading the GoT threads, but nthing for the record that the Fanfare spoiler policy needs to stay in FanFare, not the Blue. The Blue should remain read-at-own-risk.
posted by immlass at 8:47 AM on May 3, 2014 [22 favorites]


Man, this show causes so many issues.
posted by cashman at 8:48 AM on May 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


I totally sympathize with LobsterMitten, but the question this raises is why bother to police spoilers at all? MetaFilter spoils stuff for me all the time because I'm not current on every piece of media I'd like to consume, but hey, that's on me.

Wait, who cares how many flags it got?

Yeah, I agree with this. I am aware that there is an incredibly vocal contingent of "unsullieds" (ugh) here, but I don't think the FanFare policy should carry over to the blue or the grey. Flags shouldn't be some kind of auto-delete system.
posted by lalex at 8:55 AM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


nthing for the record that the Fanfare spoiler policy needs to stay in FanFare, not the Blue

I agree totally. I'm glad that FanFare was created, but there's a lot that's problematic about it and the less impact it has on the rest of the site (as in this example), the better.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:57 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


nthing the sentiment of "no spoiler policy bleed over".
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:58 AM on May 3, 2014


Isn't the only thing you need to know about GoT is that everyone dies...? And most folks figure that out after two episodes...

So, spoiler alert!!! EVERYONE DIES!
posted by HuronBob at 8:59 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with you, I think spoilers are to be expected everywhere on the internet, and that policing them causes more trouble than it's worth

You know, I am coming to agree with this. If we had an infinite supply of mods, sure, watch for spoilers. But after seeing all the discussion, and people's fervent desire to post spoilers, I'd rather not tax the mods with having to figure out what is or isn't a spoiler. Even above the fold. Stay up on media or expect spoilers. There are too many shows, too many users and too many posts to watch. I had hope before, but at some point it all becomes more trouble than it is worth, and basically if for those of us that care about a story, I guess be completely up on it, or be ready to be disappointed when you learn some plot point.
posted by cashman at 9:06 AM on May 3, 2014


Wait, a character comes back?

That ruins everything!
posted by cjorgensen at 9:18 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


We're talking about a series of books, the most recent of which was released nearly three years ago. If we're allowed to have entire threads about the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, these are not spoilers at all by comparison.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:19 AM on May 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


(And given that the books that the current Game of Thrones TV episodes are based on are fourteen years old, there's no such thing as a spoiler for any episode that has been broadcast. Unless you still consider talking about the end of The Sixth Sense to be a spoiler.)
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:20 AM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm in the spoil away camp.

I don't get to watch the shows live, so I try to avoid threads where it's being discussed. This happens both with GoT and with Walking Dead where there are books out there. GoT is supposed to be fairly faithful, TWD not-so-much, but occasionally I hear something about what will be coming up on both. Mostly because I decided it wasn't worth stopping reading, but never because it popped up on my screen unknowingly.

I say if you are in GoT you get what comes. Mostly Winter.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:22 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I flagged a few spoilery gray area comments in that thread myself because as per the recent MeTa that seemed to be the community consensus and mods' desire. In that MeTa, someone asked about a current season spoiler that had been posted as a comment in the Blue (spoilers for S04E02) in advance of the relevant episode and jessamyn confirmed that they would have deleted it if they'd known about it.

My understanding is that this isn't a new policy but a continuation of an old one. The spoiler policy on the Blue is still not as restrictive as on Fanfare -- there are other comments in the dragons thread that would have almost certainly been deleted as spoilers in a GOT thread but because of the context of the thread (discussing dragons other than the ones in GOT/ASOIAF) and the obliqueness of the spoiler they were unlikely to actually spoil anyone and thus were allowed to stand.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:25 AM on May 3, 2014


I'm a spoilerphobe, but that seems like a particularly egregious example of "you knew what you were getting when you clicked into the thread".
posted by supercres at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


snape kills joffrey!
posted by leotrotsky at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Also, given that not everyone reads every MetaTalk discussion nor the AV Club threads from which the term originated, using "Unsullied" to indicate nonreaders is not going to make it clear to everyone that there are book spoilers within.

If you want to have a spoilers-friendly discussion in the Blue, IMO you should make it very clear above-the-fold which sources/spoilers are on the table for discussion, e.g., "article and thread may contain book spoilers for future Game of Thrones episodes."
posted by Jacqueline at 9:29 AM on May 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


I understand the sentiment behind the "keep it in FanFare" argument, and I agree for pretty much every other show or movie or whatever, and I have no problem with spoiler-friendly threads like the one the spoiler-ers were told to go to, but...

Readers of the books GoT is based on know full well what they're doing when they drop big spoilers from the books into discussions about the show: They're trolling.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:30 AM on May 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


GoT and other adaptations are tricky for spoilers. But I do think a good rule of thumb is threads explicitly about the TV show should avoid book spoilers. Threads about the books--and probably general GoT threads too--can discuss anything.

The difference between this and the How I Met Your Mother finale example was that those threads were about the finale itself and not the show in general.
posted by skynxnex at 9:31 AM on May 3, 2014


So, maybe I'm biased, but I did include a spoiler warning above the fold. Caveat lector.

This was a bad deletion and should be undone. Using (paraphrase) 'this was about dragons and moved into a more general discussion about GOT' as a deletion reason is about as ridiculous as you can get. Discussions on MeFi almost always end up somewhere other than the original link.

There was a spoiler warning, end of story. Don't start bringing over anti-spoiler stuff from Fanfare to the Blue.

(Also, seriously, the most recent book was published before the TV show ever aired. What next, not allowed to talk about the Wars of the Roses or the closing of the monasteries because they were plot points in The Tudors? Come on.)

Readers of the books GoT is based on know full well what they're doing when they drop big spoilers from the books into discussions about the show: They're trolling.

No, we're discussing something we like very much and a) get muddled about what's been shown on TV or not, and b) really DGAF about 'spoiling' something that's been in print for a decade.

Perhaps my spoiler warning was a bit milquetoast. I'd be fine with a mod amending it to "Book spoilers inside."

But bringing the Fanfare rules over to the Blue?

Count me the hell out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:34 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


The only logical solution is for the mods to join a book club and get cracking, so that they can stay on top of potential spoilers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 AM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Count me the hell out.

A'ight. Don't let the door hit you.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think one of the problems with this instance is that the FPP references "Game of Thrones" but the linked article is actually about A Song of Ice and Fire (the book series that Game of Thrones is based on) and the upcoming companion book A World of Ice and Fire.

So people discussing book spoilers in that thread are discussing the article, but the framing of the FPP doesn't adequately warn people that it's a discussion of the books and not the show.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:37 AM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


That was unnecessarily jerky, Sys Rq. Do better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:37 AM on May 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


I decided to not read any Game of Thrones threads on MeFi and it's worked out pretty well. There are many other places on the internet about this series that have clearly defined and executed spoiler policies that MeFi seems to struggle with.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:38 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


That was unnecessarily jerky, Sys Rq. Do better.

Pot? We have a Mr. Kettle for you on Line 1.
posted by dotgirl at 9:42 AM on May 3, 2014 [23 favorites]


Readers of the books GoT is based on know full well what they're doing when they drop big spoilers from the books into discussions about the show: They're trolling.

Unless it's a thread primarily about the tv show, this is asinine. The books have been out for years and years, read by millions, and can be discussed without the term "spoiler" having any relevance whatsoever.

Now, if it's a discussion of the show, then I'm with you -- it is jerky to drop a big bomb about who killed the JR of GoT.

But to circle back to the FPP at hand, this is a misapplication of rules from one subsite to the main page, and in particular to a thread with an explicit spoiler warning up front.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:42 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh ffs if this is going to turn into yet another pile-on thread where I get attacked
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:43 AM on May 3, 2014


Game of Thrones: I see dead people.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:44 AM on May 3, 2014


Okay. Doing better.

For one thing, the "spoilers" you warned us about above the fold weren't really spoilers. "The dragons get big" is pretty much just a logical progression.

And it doesn't excuse other people just dropping random spoilers that have nothing to do with dragons.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:44 AM on May 3, 2014


My understanding is that this isn't a new policy but a continuation of an old one.

My understanding comes from the stated policy, which says:
Mods do not police spoilers on the site except to try to keep them off the front pages of the subsites. [...] The same is true for spoilers, which the admins will try to tuck inside a post but otherwise do not alter or edit. [...] MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.
Has this policy changed?
posted by lalex at 9:44 AM on May 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


My sense of the policy is, as I said, that we'll try to keep stuff off the front page and that within a thread we mostly would not delete spoilers unless they were really big-deal stuff or someone deliberately being a jerk.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:47 AM on May 3, 2014


So, maybe I'm biased, but I did include a spoiler warning above the fold. Caveat lector.

I'm not a book-reader and I was somewhat vocal in the Fanfare MeTa against allowing book spoilers in the GoT threads. I stayed out of your FPP because of your spoiler warning. It seems fair enough to me that if a post says "here be spoilers" those who want to stay unspoiled should stay out. I figured that was ample warning that the link in the FPP talked about the books and thus the ensuing discussion probably would as well.
posted by payoto at 9:47 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Contains minor book spoilers for the Unsullied

1. The thread was clearly marked as containing book spoilers, so deleting comments for containing spoilers is bizarre.

2. Please don't use the term "unsullied," it's like immaturity and twee got together and had a child named Joffrery Snow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2014 [21 favorites]


Proposed solution for the current thread: Update the spoiler warning to make it clearer that the article and thread are about the books, then restore the deleted comments.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Once again, most of the books are over a decade old. 'Spoiler' loses all meaning in that context.

Nevertheless I included a spoiler warning because of a) the mention of Drogon, and b) the obviousness of the discussion ranging far afield.

Again, I am fine with mods amending my post to make the spoiler warning a little more forceful.

But these were bad deletions, and as Dip Flash said, a misapplication of rules from one subsite to the main page.

...and on preview, what lalex said. This was not only a bad set of deletions, they are explicitly against the stated policy of the site.

My sense of the policy is, as I said, that we'll try to keep stuff off the front page and that within a thread we mostly would not delete spoilers unless they were really big-deal stuff or someone deliberately being a jerk.

There was nothing on the front page.

The 'spoilers' that I saw were oblique as hell.

I saw nobody being a big jerk.

And to quote the entire policy that lalex alluded to:
Generally if what is behind a link is not safe for work (porn, nudity, shock sites, sound) a NSFW indicator is appreciated. Admins will sometimes add NSFW to links, especially front page posts, if the poster doesn't include them. The same is true for spoilers -- posts that indicate the ending of a book, movie, sporting event etc -- please try to be polite and include them inside the thread or a [more inside] section rather than in the post itself. Mods do not police spoilers on the site except to try to keep them off the front pages of the subsites.

Do not assume that all content that isn't safe for work browsing will be labeled as such. There are always instances where the NSFW indicator is missing, and the admins cannot be expected to catch every single one of them and fix it. The same is true for spoilers, which the admins will try to tuck inside a post but otherwise do not alter or edit. When browsing, it is safest to consider the NSFW tag and the spoiler indication a favor performed by the admins and posters, rather than an expectation or obligation. ROT-13, while a great way to avoid spoilers, is problematic for a large diverse community and should probably be avoided when possible.

MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.
Emphases mine.

There is not a single thing in that stated site policy that justifies deleting those comments. Not one.

Please undelete them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:51 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, who cares how many flags it got? What happened to no spoilers above the fold, caveat reader in the thread? When did that change?

when Metafilter became a site governed not by hard/fast rules, but directed by less rigid guidelines?
posted by philip-random at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is not a single thing in that stated site policy that justifies deleting those comments. Not one.

If they weren't about dragon size, they were derails. Derails get deleted.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:58 AM on May 3, 2014


Bad deletions. Those worried about "spoilers" need to chill the fuck out.
posted by klangklangston at 9:58 AM on May 3, 2014 [14 favorites]


My sense of the policy is, as I said, that we'll try to keep stuff off the front page and that within a thread we mostly would not delete spoilers unless they were really big-deal stuff or someone deliberately being a jerk.

Sure, and listen, I have no investment whatsoever in either the book or TV version of GoT, although I do realize it's a bit of a tricky case.

But you didn't even know whether or not the deleted comments were big-deal stuff, and I dislike the idea of comments being deleted just because they were flagged X number of times. I realize this might end up being true of FanFare, because there's no possible way that all the mods can keep up with all the shows being discussed and there's an explicit NO SPOILER policy there. I just don't think that policy should apply to the blue. Especially in a post clearly marked with a spoiler warning!
posted by lalex at 9:59 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


because there's no possible way that all the mods can keep up with all the shows being discussed

Mabye lynda.com should start doing courses on popular tv shows for internet mods.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:01 AM on May 3, 2014


... and when the site policy explicitly says that we're not in a spoiler-free place here. Let's not forget that.
posted by ChrisR at 10:01 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


If they weren't about dragon size, they were derails. Derails get deleted.

Not always, and there was nothing in LM's stated reasoning that said anything about derails. It was about spoilers. Closest s/he came was "maybe kind of a sidetrack" which is not the same thing as a derail.

Bad deletions, unsupported by defined site policy. If that policy has changed, the userbase needs to be notified.

For emphasis:
Mods do not police spoilers on the site except to try to keep them off the front pages of the subsites.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:03 AM on May 3, 2014


To defend LobsterMitten, even I thought that the FPP was about Game of Thrones (and not about ASOIAF) and flagged accordingly, because the text of the FPP said "Game of Thrones."

So some of the problem here is with your framing, fffm. If you want to post about A Song of Ice and Fire, then you should specify that's what the post is about and/or be clear that there will be discussions of ASOIAF that go beyond what's been covered thus far in GOT.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:07 AM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I really think that the whole NO SPOILERS ZONE should remain in FanFare. That is a safe space created especially for people who do not want spoilers, and that is a good thing to have, but the policy should not spill over into normal site discussions.

Readers of the books GoT is based on know full well what they're doing when they drop big spoilers from the books into discussions about the show: They're trolling.

Absolutely ridiculous statement. The thread under discussion is about the overall universe of ASOIAF and not about the show only. It's also very clearly marked as containing book spoilers.
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 AM on May 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


If they weren't about dragon size, they were derails. Derails get deleted.

Hahaha come on. Half the TV-related posts on the blue are just fig leaves posted so everyone can discuss what's going on with Mad Men or HIMYM or Hannibal or whatever.
posted by lalex at 10:08 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


I decided to not read any Game of Thrones threads on MeFi and it's worked out pretty well.

I think this is what I'm going to do more often. I don't want to constrain the book readers; they've got every right to discuss this stuff and they already went over and beyond the call of duty in keeping the Red Wedding a secret. The wording of the spoiler warning on this post was pretty lax and made it sound to me like the post was generally safe for non readers, but in retrospect since the link is about material from the books, I shouldn't have assumed that. The rule of thumb I'll use from now on is that if a post is about something in the books, however minor, then discussing the books in general is within the scope of the thread, even if the main link itself isn't spoilery. I might look at the link, but I'll stay out of the thread. Posts about the TV show I'll assume to be spoiler free.

Proposed solution for the current thread: Update the spoiler warning to make it clearer that the article and thread are about the books, then restore the deleted comments.

I think this is a good idea.
posted by homunculus at 10:09 AM on May 3, 2014


So some of the problem here is with your framing, fffm.

Nope, the post explicitly said there were book spoilers, so there should exactly zero deletions in that thread for spoilers about the series.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:10 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Contains minor book spoilers for the Unsullied]

Minor book spoilers. Seems pretty clear to me.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:12 AM on May 3, 2014


It doesn't say mods won't delete spoilers in comments, just that they don't try to find them and there very easily could be spoilers everywhere but above the fold. I'm pretty sure I've seen other spoiler comments deleted before? So this isn't even totally new. I haven't seen the comments in question, so I have no idea if this deletion made sense or not.
posted by skynxnex at 10:12 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The article was about the size of the dragons in the books and what we can expect to see on the screen. The "person coming back" spoiler in the comments had nothing to do with the FPP about the size of the dragons. "Dragons continue to grow" is not a major plot point, "dead character returns" is. I'm sure it was shocking in the book, and will be on the show. Reading it here? Not so much.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:12 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nope, the post explicitly said there were book spoilers

It didn't explicitly say there were "book spoilers," it said there were spoilers for the "Unsullied," which is a meaningless warning to most people.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


If you want to post about A Song of Ice and Fire, then you should specify that's what the post is about and/or be clear that there will be discussions of ASOIAF that go beyond what's been covered thus far in GOT.

I see people using the terms interchangeably all the time, and do so myself. There's no guarantee that seeing "GoT" means show only.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:14 AM on May 3, 2014


Looks like the mods have since added the word "book" to the warning as per fffm's request, but it wasn't there originally, which is where the confusion came from.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:14 AM on May 3, 2014


It didn't explicitly say there were "book spoilers," it said there were spoilers for the "Unsullied," which is a meaningless warning to most people.

It said both. "Contains minor book spoilers for the Unsullied."
posted by payoto at 10:14 AM on May 3, 2014


The original warning did not contain the word "book" in it. It has since been updated by the mods as per the poster's request.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:16 AM on May 3, 2014


I could have sworn the original FPP said "book spoilers." fffm was suggesting a possible rephrase to "Book spoilers inside" which is not what it currently says. Maybe a mod could put this to rest?
posted by payoto at 10:21 AM on May 3, 2014


So some of the problem here is with your framing, fffm. If you want to post about A Song of Ice and Fire, then you should specify that's what the post is about and/or be clear that there will be discussions of ASOIAF that go beyond what's been covered thus far in GOT.

Except that many of us who have spent how many damn years now reading the books and discussing them offline, we refer to them (in my experience) as Game of Thrones and not ASOIAF. It is impossible, not to mention a ridiculous demand, to require that books which have been in print for 15? 18? years could possibly contain spoilers.

There was a spoiler warning, the deletions are against stated site policy, I don't really know what else to say here.

Proposed solution for the current thread: Update the spoiler warning to make it clearer that the article and thread are about the books, then restore the deleted comments.

I think this is a good idea.


One that I have made more than once.

It doesn't say mods won't delete spoilers in comments

Actually it does. See the bits about 'won't police spoilers' and 'MeFi is not a NSFW or spoiler-free zone."

It didn't explicitly say there were "book spoilers," it said there were spoilers for the "Unsullied," which is a meaningless warning to most people.

Given the number of times I have seen that term used in threads here, it's hardly meaningless, and I thought of it as a hat tip to those who really want to avoid book spoilers in every form. Forgive me for trying. I promise you my next FPP will include links to define every single word contained therein.

I warned that there were spoilers. Maybe in not enough of an aggressive way for your demands, but the warning was there. The very fact of using 'Unsullied' indicates the (possible) spoilers are from the books.

As always on MeFi: caveat lector.

Thank you, mods, for amending the text. So we'll see comments undeleted next, since per stated site policy they never should have been deleted in the first place?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 AM on May 3, 2014


The post hasn't been edited.

About this letter of the law policy stuff: as I said above... we'll try to keep stuff off the front page and within a thread we mostly would not delete spoilers unless they were really big-deal stuff or someone deliberately being a jerk.

In this case, it seemed to me, based on people's reaction (some flags, objections in-thread), that this specific info might be in the "big deal" category, and since it was not on the advertised topic of the thread (dragons) and once it started to lead to a whole thread of conversation about the spoilery thing, I figured it was crossing that line.

Now, it's definitely true that what counts as big-deal enough to delete is a little elastic. We've definitely had threads about some things where huge spoilers stayed in the comments, over objections. I was probably a little more quick to delete on GOT spoilers because of the recent discussions and other email we had gotten about other more-minor spoilers earlier in that thread (which again, I left those early minor ones because they did not seem to cross the big-deal line).

I may well have incorrectly estimated how big-deal the particular things were.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:23 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The very fact of using 'Unsullied' indicates the (possible) spoilers are from the books.

Well, I was expecting there to be something about Daenerys' army from Astapor.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:23 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


It didn't explicitly say there were "book spoilers," it said there were spoilers for the "Unsullied," which is a meaningless warning to most people.

I read the first two books of the series and am current on the show, but I didn't know that "Unsullied" meant anything but Daenerys' army. I don't really care about spoilers, but, to me, that warning meant that there would be spoilers about Dany's army.
posted by gladly at 10:24 AM on May 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Add me to the list of people who find "unsullied" to be obnoxious, and also it assumes that people who have watched the show have any freaking idea what you're talking about, which doesn't feel like a safe assumption. It also kind of bugs me that there are multiple very thinly disguised book discussion threads now, but maybe that's because the last gray post about this had a lot of people being really insulting to those who haven't read the books. I get the feeling that people are being provocative just to be provocative or something.

And that's speaking as someone who doesn't mind spoilers and is currently reading the books. But there's just this air of condescension toward people who are just watching the show--maybe it's an artifact of metafilter's occasional attitude of snobbery toward TV watchers or something.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:24 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


The original warning did not contain the word "book" in it. It has since been updated by the mods as per the poster's request.

Wrong, though I thought it had been changed too.

LM, you made bad deletions that are explicitly against the spoiler policy. Has that policy changed, and if so, why have we not been notified?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:26 AM on May 3, 2014


I have explained my reasoning several times in this thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Google cached version from yesterday: it does say "book spoilers," and LobsterMitten has confirmed that it hasn't been edited, so it seems to have been ample warning regardless of people's feelings about "unsullied."
posted by payoto at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2014


Actually, on second thought, I give up. Obviously Fanfare's policy is going to take over the rest of the site, which is going to make a lot of threads really boring.

Out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Google cached version from yesterday: it does say "book spoilers," and LobsterMitten has confirmed that it hasn't been edited

I must be losing my mind, then, because I totally didn't see the word "book" the first several times I looked at the thread. Apologies for my insistence that it wasn't always there.

I'm going to go take a nap now because it's clear that I need one.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:29 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The original warning did not contain the word "book" in it. It has since been updated by the mods as per the poster's request.

Little too much "milk of the poppy," eh?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let's take it easy here, guys. GoT is hard because there's no generally accepted idea in popular culture about how the book universe should be treated in relation to the TV universe. It's natural for there to be disagreements about that. Like any contentious thread on the blue, the OP and commenters need to make a special effort to anticipate these fights not let discussions devolve into shouting matches.
posted by anifinder at 10:49 AM on May 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "LM, you made bad deletions that are explicitly against the spoiler policy. Has that policy changed, and if so, why have we not been notified?"

The code policy is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. And IMO there hasn't even been much of a change. Practically speaking egregious spoilers have always been deleted. The only real debate would be whether these deletions were of egregious spoilers.
posted by Mitheral at 10:56 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another vote for not permitting the FanFare rules to affect the operation of the rest of the site.
posted by winna at 10:57 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think people need to totally freak out, no heads need asploding etc. The Mefi policy isn't changing.

We have to juggle a lot of considerations, and in this instance it seemed like a departure from the post topic as well as something that was derailing the thread because of in-thread objections, plus email to us suggesting that it was definitely more than a mild spoiler and a big deal, *and* there was/is a concurrent, epic ALL SPOILERS ALL THE TIME RIGHT HERE | COME AND GET YOUR GAME OF THRONES / ASOIAF ON | TOTALLY OPEN TO DISCUSS ALL thread actively going on, so very easy for folks to discuss anything about the book and show with no concern, and LM was balancing the question of whether the Dragon Sizes thread should be totally taken over by the discussion of whether that one unrelated-to-the-link comment causing a massive derail should be deleted.

BUT, FFFM didn't do anything wrong, the commenter wasn't being an asshole, LM didn't decide on a new MeFi policy, and nothing is changing about the current spoilers guidelines for the site. It was a problem in the thread, and it seemed like something that didn't have anything to do with the specific topic, so maybe something that could be explored in the other very active "all spoilers" thread. I don't know what I would have done, but probably the same for exactly the same reasons, but it's better for us just to hands-off the mefi spoilers issues as mods except for clearly malicious stuff, because while it's not always as insanely complicated as GoT stuff, it's not a thing we can reliably navigate with just a handful of us and a limitless number of possible spoilers for a universe of shows, films, books, etc.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:57 AM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I agree that this seems like a bad policy shift. I didn't read breaking bad posts for months after the finale aired. My lack of time/interest should not constrain the community's discussion. Likewise, we should be able to talk about the books, regardless of any given individual's time/interest in reading them.

Sure, there's another spoiler-heavy thread on mefi. There's also a spoiler-free thread on FanFare. People who don't want spoilers can discuss the shows here already. Why should they also be allowed to curtail discussions on metafilter?
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:13 AM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm with the young rope-rider, if I don't want spoilers, I don't go in the thread. My time constraints shouldn't dictate the community's discussion.
posted by arcticseal at 11:17 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


As a book reader, I'll confirm that was most definitely not a 'minor' spoiler as the post warns for. It didn't have anything to do with dragons either. It was like, "I'll suspend disbelief for this, and this, but THIS incredibly spoilery thing threw me right out." No one had mentioned anything related to the spoilery thing.

It was pretty random and surprising, and if I were a non-reader who cared about spoilers, I'd have been kind of bummed.

Maybe not technically against policy, but it was kind of a dickish thing to do especially when there's a huge 'spoilers all' ASoIaF thread currently active. The dragons conversation hasn't lost anything by the deletion.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:19 AM on May 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


(Just to restate completely clearly, I hope: there's been no policy shift. The Mefi policy on spoilers isn't changing.)
posted by taz (staff) at 11:21 AM on May 3, 2014


(Just to restate completely clearly, I hope: there's been no policy shift. The Mefi policy on spoilers isn't changing.)

If comments are being deleted because they contain book spoilers, in a post clearly marked as containing book spoilers, by a mod who doesn't seem to know whether the comments in question even contain major spoilers, then it appears that the MetaFilter policy of not policing spoilers has changed.
posted by lalex at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Mefi policy isn't changing.

Well, the mods aren't following the policy. It doesn't matter what the policy is if you aren't following it.
posted by 26.2 at 11:29 AM on May 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


tax, I understand that you and LM do not feel as though these deletions represent a policy shift. You have been completely clear about that. I disagree with your perception(s), and feel that it is a change, and an undesirable one. I seem to not be alone in this interpretation.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:30 AM on May 3, 2014 [17 favorites]


I am one of the people who is waiting for the current season to be DVDable and spoilers make me sad. I don't mind if people want to discuss spoilers as part of an honest discussion about something that is labeled as containing spoilers, but I have noticed a tendency of some people (not just on Metafilter but on Facebook etc) to post stuff that is unnecessarily "hinty" or contains a spoiler without an alert so others can skip it, and it seems like there's a bit of a condescending attitude amongst people who have read the books like "oh, this stuff is all OLD news if you read the books YEARS ago like I did. I was into this before it was cool!" I don't appreciate that. I don't think it needs to be site policy to delete it, but I do think that people should realize that it's not nice to do it and that it's bothering other people.

For example, fffm mentioned the specific thing that was deleted above, that wasn't necessary and in the context of the thread I can now guess what's going to happen. Perhaps I shouldn't have read this thread, but I wanted to know what the upshot of the discussion on spoiler policy was.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:40 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


It has seemed to me that the FanFare policy of deleting book spoilers makes things harder for the mods, who shouldn't be expected to know the minutiae of a giant heap of books. It's hard on them, and it's hard on people who may have comments deleted because they're flagged as spoilers when they may or may not be spoilers.

Because of that, I think it is much simpler not to police spoilers on the rest of the site, whatever is done on FanFare.

I understand that this deletion is not perceived as a policy shift, but if we're deleting comments based on flags because they may or may not contain 'major spoilers' then I can't help but see that is a change and not in my opinion a desirable one.
posted by winna at 11:48 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


If this is going to be an ongoing issue across all the sites, why not add a spoilertext option to the text format buttons along the bottom of the text input form?

Code it to match the invoked background color of the site, so if people are using one of the alternate themes the text stays hidden, and ask users to voluntarily hide the copy if in doubt. Less work for the mods, everyone gets to post what they want, nobody has to read something they don't want to as long as posters participate in good faith.
posted by mwhybark at 12:01 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


As a book reader, I'll confirm that was most definitely not a 'minor' spoiler as the post warns for. It didn't have anything to do with dragons either.

Honestly, if spoilers bother a person, I'd recommend staying out of threads even vaguely GoT related. Because once discussions starts, then it had tendency to drift all over the place the place and most likely, one will get spoiled.

I'd agree this isn't right or fair, but it is a consistent occurrence, that once should just avoid it thread related to fiction once doesn't want to be spoiled about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:11 PM on May 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Am I really wrong that spoilers have always been deleted if they're "bad" enough? I know Harry Potter spoilers were back in peak spoil time. And as I said earlier, although there seems to be disagreement, saying they won't police is very different turn saying they would never delete.
posted by skynxnex at 12:11 PM on May 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


Good lord. It seems some people have never made a mistake before. Requiring perfection from the moderators on this topic is ridiculous. Some in here are acting like its the end of the world. Even if the comments were reinstated, I don't think this thread would end soon as even more chime in to let LM know what a poor decision it was and how it is a threat to site culture before huffing out of the room with a dark could overhead. Take a step back and gain some perspective.

I picked up the first book after seeing so many threads about it here that I couldn't read for fear of ruining the series for myself. Never seen the TV show. I stay out of all of them. Even in this Meta, I think I've some ideas about what else is coming now. Whose fault? Mine. Sure, I agree, the comments probably shouldn't have been deleted. The responsibility for avoiding spoilers is on the person avoiding them. Also, people shouldn't deliberately try to spoil things for other people via misdirection or trickery. That's not cool and crosses a line, so there are times when I could see a reason for deleting spoilers. But, this probably wasn't that case from what I gather. I skipped the thread because I'm 50 pages from the end of A Game of Thrones with a trip to the bookstore in my future. It's good!
posted by Roger Dodger at 12:19 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wait until you find out that that the Dragons are cyborgs controlled by hundreds of tiny hamsters on the inside! It'll change your life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on May 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


The official policy isn't changing, but if FanFare readers (or readers who are already emboldened by the policy being set on FanFare) flag more aggressively, there may be an effective policy changes. There's no way to register dissent against the effective policy changes other than commenting here.

LobsterMitten didn't necessarily do anything terribly wrong, and sure, it's all a mistake! But I'm reinforcing here, since I can't really do it by flagging, that it's a mistake I don't want repeated, and absolutely let's not spread it out of Game of Thrones threads. (And I've heard the books referred to that way since long before the TV show and I don't even read them.)
posted by immlass at 12:42 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I like discussing books. The thing about preventing people from ever spoiling anything ever is that people who've read the book can't discuss it.

Certainly I understand that some people don't want to read spoilers, but why is that more important than people who want to have a discussion of a book or movie? If you don't want spoilers then what are you doing in a thread that clearly said they could exist?
posted by 26.2 at 12:44 PM on May 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Learn to love both sides of the spoiler argument while keeping true to your own position, and the internet will not be so menacing.
posted by planetesimal at 12:45 PM on May 3, 2014


SNAPE KILLED SPOILERS
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Isn't the reveal that there are dragons a spoiler in and of itself (and one above the fold)? It's been a while since I've seen the first couple episodes, but if I hadn't read the books I don't know that I'd be aware that they were more than myth/ancient history. Or is this considered kind of along the lines of "Luke's father" territory?
posted by ODiV at 1:19 PM on May 3, 2014


I have the nagging feeling that the UnSullied are people who have never sen Monsters, Inc, and don't want you to tell them who the monsters are.

I don't care about spoilers pretty much at all, because I am pretty much always watching things on DVD, and expecting people on the internet to be quiet for the next 12-18 months is a little bizarre (and I really don't care that much about being surprised by the plot). On the other hand, a lot of people seemed to be very bugged, and I took the point of the thread to be about the relative size of dragons in fiction, not so much the GoT universe, so I can see how spoilers not relating specifically to dragons should be kept out if possible.

It's an edge case. I don't think LM was wrong to delete them, but I don't think it would have been wrong to let them stand.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:24 PM on May 3, 2014


In Soviet Russia, spoilers reveal you.
posted by arcticseal at 1:26 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think "but the spoilers that were deleted didn't have anything to do with dragons" seems like a really weird reason to delete something, as a sizeable number of comments in any given thread are only tangentially discussing the topic of the original post. If a post about Game of Thrones dragons saiys "book spoilers", and then someone compares Game of Thrones dragons to some other Game of Thrones plot point, that's about as tangentially related to the topic of the original post as a great deal of unflagged, undeleted comments are in other threads that will veer slightly towards tangentially related topics.

I think the "big spoilers are going to get deleted" as a site rule/guideline/whatever should be amended to something closer to "big spoilers are going to be deleted in threads where those spoilers should be unexpected". If the thread said there were going to be "book spoilers", then everyone who read the whole link should've expected book spoilers, even ones that weren't about dragons.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:46 PM on May 3, 2014


I think "but the spoilers that were deleted didn't have anything to do with dragons" seems like a really weird reason to delete something, as a sizeable number of comments in any given thread are only tangentially discussing the topic of the original post.

Yeah, I don't know. In the vast majority of cases, I would agree with you, but there is so much shouting over GoT spoilers (specifically), that it might be worth just trying not to stray too far off topic with the spoiling in a given thread. It's not like there probably isn't another open thread or two on the Blue where spoilers would not be so contentious.

As I've said, I don't really get the outrage over spoilers (except in a very intellectual way), but I don't get the outrage over deletions, either, so it's kind of a wash.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:51 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be much easier if you lot would stop reading books and watching television.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:59 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know. In the vast majority of cases, I would agree with you, but there is so much shouting over GoT spoilers (specifically), that it might be worth just trying not to stray too far off topic with the spoiling in a given thread. It's not like there probably isn't another open thread or two on the Blue where spoilers would not be so contentious.

That doesn't sound realistic, since the subject was the size of dragons in GoT fiction. It's natural that people discuss other aspects of the story in that thread, rather than looking for a thread already in progress and attempting to take the conversation over there, where there's a different set of people who aren't talking about the size of dragons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:01 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I - you know, FFFM, even if you were 100% right here (and you're not), when you're saying stuff like this:
Actually, on second thought, I give up. Obviously Fanfare's policy is going to take over the rest of the site, which is going to make a lot of threads really boring.

Out.
You need to get a grip. It is seriously not a big deal either way, so when people are trying in good faith to explain their reasoning to you, maybe don't throw a snit fit about it. Especially since it has been crystal clear for years on this site that almost everything is case by case, and considerations like "keeping threads running smoothly and on-topic instead of letting people argue about a derail on the blue" are always going to be high on the list.

You can make an argument that the correct way to handle that with regards to spoilers is to delete the posts complaining about spoilers. That's fine. Being a jerk because the mods didn't obey your imperious commands sucks.

Re: the topic, I honestly don't care either way. And let's be real, no matter which path we take, it's going to make some people mad. I suppose the existence of the new subsite would lead me to lean slightly towards spoiler deletions requiring a very high bar and/or preferring to delete posts complaining about spoilers, but again, not a big deal either way.
posted by kavasa at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2014 [27 favorites]


We don't police spoilers on the Blue for the sake of spoilers, but we do police comments that are going to lead to either major derails or serious ill-will, or (usually) both. This one looked like it fell into that category. (And as a book-reader, I think LM's estimation of its relative importance was spot-on. It was a pretty huge surprise.) We are particularly attuned to GoT drama at the moment, there's a much more appropriate venue for that discussion right now, and it picked up a bunch of flags. So it got deleted.

Again, this isn't spoiler policy per se, this is site policy. Sometimes we snip derails. Sometimes spoilers are derails.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:09 PM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


If I cared about your opinion, kavasa, I would have asked for it. There were no 'imperious commands.' I am not being a jerk (hey, mods, look--more people allowed to insult me with no pushback. Can you just make this official policy already?), I am discussing how I felt about deletions in a FPP that I made.

I'd also point out taz's comment that I have done nothing wrong.

As for "Actually, on second thought, I give up. Obviously Fanfare's policy is going to take over the rest of the site, which is going to make a lot of threads really boring." I am far from the only person in this thread making that comparison, so singling me out to pile on is distasteful at best.

Taking this out of my recent activity now because the last fucking thing I need in the world is yet another member of MeFi insulting me with no consequences, criticizing me when they are factually wrong, or any of the other bullshit aimed at me in your comment.

There's something really disgusting about telling people to play nice while simultaneously insulting and belittling them. I know you know you can get away with it because the mods are perfectly happy to let anyone poke the bear--and they'll probably delete this response, as usual, because I am not allowed to respond to flat-out insults.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:12 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you don't want spoilers then what are you doing in a thread that clearly said they could exist?

Well, the thread said "[Contains minor book spoilers for the Unsullied]" which in my experience means it's probably safe for non readers if they don't mind little spoilery details, but that it wouldn't include any major spoilers like Ned's fate or the Red Wedding. And that was true of fffm's link; his warning was spot on. My mistake was in forgetting that the warning doesn't apply to rest of the thread, so I was surprised when someone randomly revealed a major spoiler that had nothing to do with the original subject.

Henceforth I shall heed Brandon's advice, for he is wise.
posted by homunculus at 2:13 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is, I assumed it had to be a joke until this thread confirmed it's real. And that gives me hope that GRRM might use my dream ending for the series, in which the Iron Throne is finally siezed by a composite wight made up of bits of other characters, including but not limited to Jamie's hand, Theon's johnson and Ned's head, and is pregnant with Robb and Talisa's unborn zombie baby. It would be the perfect compromise for all concerned parties.
posted by homunculus at 2:14 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


That doesn't sound realistic, since the subject was the size of dragons in GoT fiction.

Eh, that was kind of the hook for the linked article, but the article itself as much about dragons in fiction in general as GoT dragons. Thus the appearance of Pete's Dragon and Smaug in the infographic, who do not appear in GoT, series or book , as far as I know. Somewhere between a third and a half of the comments are talking about non-GRRM dragons (as opposed to non-GMO dragons).
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:16 PM on May 3, 2014


fffm, describing your behavior accurately is not an insult. It's how you were acting. Own it.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:18 PM on May 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


1. Your commands were that comments from the thread be undeleted.

2. The jerk-ness is in your statement that because you didn't like the way this one particular thread about a TV show went, "site policy" has clearly totally changed universally and for the worse. It's also in your general tone and your refusal to grant that any of the mods' repeatedly-stated concerns were of any substance whatsoever.

3. The bar for comment deletion in the gray has always been extremely high, and the fact that my previous comment in the thread doesn't meet it in no way means that there's some sort of mod or metafilter-wide conspiracy against you.

4. You're being the jerkiest person, which is why I singled you out.

5. That's also why I was more aggressive in my tone.

6. Also keep in mind that, to the extent that I declared a position, it aligns generally with yours.

7. No one needs anyone else's permission to address them in a public discussion forum, ever.

8. The fact that you're apparently concerned that your posts to meta are going to get deleted is getting into weird paranoia territory. Seriously. That's really not a concern until you get into hyper-extreme, utterly contentless screaming matches with someone else.

9. I'm not sure why this post is a numbered list any more.

---

As an aside, it's interesting comparing the community conception of policy with how law enforcement interacts with federal & state law and department policy. All the LE training I've received has always concentrated on kind of fuzzy concepts like "totality of the circumstances," and "objective reasonableness." There's a lot of emphasis on being able to articulate specific facts that led you to take the actions you took and how little there is in the way of answers that are always right or always wrong. So then you compare that approach, which we take with literal matters of life and death, and then compare it with the attitude some folks have about metafilter policy, and it's just very strange that people expect these policies to be applied the exact way they're thinking of every single time.
posted by kavasa at 2:41 PM on May 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


fffm, you actually were being a jerk.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:44 PM on May 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Thus the appearance of Pete's Dragon and Smaug in the infographic, who do not appear in GoT, series or book , as far as I know.

*blinks*

That would make a good plot twist.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


If I cared about your opinion, kavasa, I would have asked for it.

Who isn't being a jerk, now?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:16 PM on May 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


That would make a good plot twist.

It's true that the fans would never see it coming. I am not sure how Elliot would cope with being stuck in Westeros, though.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:22 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: Perhaps my spoiler warning was a bit milquetoast. I'd be fine with a mod amending it to "Book spoilers inside."

Yeah, I think the warning should be changed to crystal-clear version the OP suggested. It's pretty obvious that the discussion is going to head into the implications of the dragons for upcoming events in the book series, which could get pretty spoilery. That's not inherently a violation of existing policy on the Blue.

(I can't weigh in on the deleted comments themselves because I didn't see them.)
posted by nangar at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


> Isn't the reveal that there are dragons a spoiler in and of itself (and one above the fold)?

Not in this case. The show's gotten way past that point.
posted by nangar at 3:45 PM on May 3, 2014


hey guys, what's going on in this room anyw -

[freezes]

[backs out of room slowly and quietly]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 PM on May 3, 2014 [28 favorites]


I've been following this GOT spoiler issue for a while now and it's really baffling to me. For the sake of my own sanity I've not participated in the threads, read any of the books or seen the series because, frankly, I'm bored to the back-teeth of reading about it now; to see you lot witter on about it and kill your friendships over it.

GOT posts are not the best of the web. They're water-cooler conversion starters that should be left to your OFB, not something to be broadcast widely over Metafilter. If they were personal blog posts Metafilter wouldn't keep having these giant talks over and over again. There are no victors and, somehow, it's introduced into Metafilter's lexicon words like: nonreader, book-reader, and (for the love of God) book-walker.

GOT people, if Fanfare is not enough for you, perhaps you should start your own website and stop boring us with your craziness when your spoilery comments get nixed, your posts get deleted, and your egos get bruised.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:14 PM on May 3, 2014 [27 favorites]


Not in this case. The show's gotten way past that point.

So it's not a spoiler for the people familiar with the material? Isn't that pretty much what a spoiler is though?

About the spoiler warning in the post, I took it to be clearly for the link. Were people expecting to cover future comments?
posted by ODiV at 4:15 PM on May 3, 2014


So, I (perhaps unsurprisingly) echo immlass's concerns. The very existence of FanFare and the policies that it has that are different from the Blue may potentially change the Blue, by making the Mods more sensitive to the concerns of the spoiler-averse. I hope we can have a strict anti-spoiler policy for a sub site and avoid having it inadvertently affect the blue. This post is about a delete that brings that into question.

I don't have a dog in the GoT hunt: I haven't read it or watched it and I didn't get as far as scrolling down in that thread. I don't really care if the particular delete is reverted or not.

I'd like to think that the mods have taken this whole MeTa as a reminder that some members, at least, don't want to change the existing policy and will keep that in mind the next time the impulse to delete for spoilers arises. "Would we have deleted this before we created a spoiler-sensitive sub-site"? If the answer is no, then don't.
posted by Mad_Carew at 4:17 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


So who comes back?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:20 PM on May 3, 2014


The cat.

Word is it's the next day, too.
posted by ODiV at 4:25 PM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Jesus comes back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 PM on May 3, 2014


Christ, I can't wait for this show to be over.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:28 PM on May 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Jesus comes back.

He does that every year - SPOILER!
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am voting for a fair warning and simply letting the threads ride. Man, if you want to be that pure in an impure world, then don't go inside the thread. And I speak as a person who is not, BITTER at all, for having an off hand comment deleted as a "spoiler" in another thread.
posted by jadepearl at 4:30 PM on May 3, 2014


> GOT people, if Fanfare is not enough for you, perhaps you should start your own website ...

I think that's a bit harsh, but I think there would have been a good case for a 'maybe just post this in the open thread'response if it it had been flagged as double when it was first posted.
posted by nangar at 4:49 PM on May 3, 2014


So who comes back?

Kotter.
posted by thivaia at 4:55 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think that's a bit harsh

Let me put it another way: all the posts and arguments on Metafilter have made want to never read or watch GOT.

I know it's a big part of people's lives but when it causes this much friction, where does the fun start?

It's like watching teenagers argue about Eragon.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:18 PM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am not being a jerk

There are certain statements that you can't really make about yourself (hi, Donald Rumsfeld and your "I'm calm and calculating"); the simple fact of making them is more likely to convince people they're false than anything else.

This would appear to be one of them.
posted by asterix at 5:19 PM on May 3, 2014


"i am not a crook!"
posted by bruce at 5:39 PM on May 3, 2014


I have some helpful advice for a lot of the people posting in this thread.
posted by corb at 6:01 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


So who comes back?

Kotter.


Welcome back.
posted by Vaike at 6:05 PM on May 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Information wants to be free. Apparently, it also wants to be unspoiled so that everyone can savor its awesomeness when it sneaks up and bites you in the rear.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:27 PM on May 3, 2014


Don't worry, guys, you can never be TRULY spoiled on GoT because GRRM will NEVER FINISH THEM so they will always and forever be cosmically unfulfilled and thus unspoilable because it'll be like the Schroedinger's Cat of plot twists except you can never trigger the event that will make the quantum uncertainty pick a direction because, know why? GRRM WILL BE DEAD.

"About the spoiler warning in the post, I took it to be clearly for the link. Were people expecting to cover future comments?"

Personally, when on a general interest site that discusses media, I always expect spoilers about the thing in general. I know that media-specific and fan sites often have more strict policies, but on general-interest sites, all I expect is that they don't put the spoiler in the headline until a week or so has passed.

I am way, way behind on GoT (and not really willing to catch up until GRRM finishes so I know it'll have an ending before I invest enough time in it to catch up!), but it is a massive phenomenon that is just ambient in culture right now and not being up-to-the-minute on it means that, if you choose to read about it on the internet, twists will be spoiled. Personally I do not particularly mind that, as I don't find spoilers diminish my enjoyment more than the amount of enjoyment I get from reading people analyzing the books and show in the current cultural moment. But for the couple of things that I DO mind spoilers about, it's on me to either keep up or to avoid reading about it until I am caught up. Sometimes this is tedious (Downton Abbey and your delayed US broadcasts!!!! *shakes fist*), but it's on me. It's not like there's a town crier going down the street shouting, "LADY CRAWLEY MISCARRIES!" I just have to NOT CLICK ON HEADLINES ABOUT DOWNTON and skip those pages in US Weekly or whatever.

Anyway, if we're polling the MeFi audience (MeFaudience?), I'm firmly in the camp that reading a thread on a general interest site about some media property means you take on the risk of being spoiled for that media property up to anything that has come out more than an hour ago. I think it's great that people post "spoilers within" above the fold and I think it's nice when people mention in their comment "spoiler ....." because that's thoughtful. But if being unspoiled is really important, I think you have to discipline yourself to avoid reading about your chosen media property except in narrowly-tailored, specific forums with a hard line on spoilers. And even then, sometimes you're gonna get spoiled because sometimes people slip up.''

I don't know when remaining unspoiled because such a giant big deal; I don't remember it being so fraught before a few years ago. And the other day this guy absolutely bit my head off because I mentioned "Rosebud" in Citizen Kane in a passing comment and he was like, "OMG SPOIL THE MOVIE WHY DON'T YOU" and was absolutely furious and gave me an angry lecture on not spoiling things for people and, what, I'm supposed to exchange media lists before we can have a conversation with any cultural references? Hamlet dies, guys. Beth dies. It was Earth all along. Soylent Greens are people. Citizen Kane is SEVENTY-TWO YEARS OLD, and people are still grumpy about the spoilers!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:40 PM on May 3, 2014 [22 favorites]


Citizen Kane is SEVENTY-TWO YEARS OLD, and people are still grumpy about the spoilers!

Look, I really didn't need to know what William Randolph Hearst called Marion Davies's clitoris, okay? 72-year-old TMI is still TMI.
posted by asterix at 6:45 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Barry Norman (British Film critic) once received a complaint from a viewer that he ruined the end of the movie by mentioning in his review that the ship sank. I can't find the clip online, but he was less than sympathetic given that it was recorded history from over 90 years ago.
posted by arcticseal at 7:02 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know we're really not voting, but--it looks right now like FanFare posts are all going to relate to one specific episode, so there's a clear line of "we aren't spoiling anything past this point". Posts on the Blue are not generally about specific episodes. As long as there's adequate warning before the fold, I'm in favor of letting the spoilers roam free.
posted by Sequence at 7:06 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't personally have a horse in this race... I've read the books...

If anything, that seems to undermine your argument. It suggests that you simply lack empathy with those who don't know the plot points. For instance, if I wanted to, I could spoil some movie/TV plots right here in this comment. It would be pointless, and it would make some people feel bad for being deprived of the opportunity to experience those plotlines "fresh," for the first time. Meanwhile, some people who have seen those movies or shows might not care. The fact that the latter group is apathetic just means they're lacking in sensitivity to the former group, who is affected.
posted by John Cohen at 7:21 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


More fandoms should adopt the Hannibal fandom's attitude toward spoilers.

(Never watched or read Hannibal or Hannibal Rising, happy to hear about the Vergers and the sister and whatever else.)
posted by rewil at 7:27 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


WTF is GRRM? Is this another thing, like normcore, that I have to worry about?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:36 PM on May 3, 2014


GRRM = George R.R. Martin
posted by Etrigan at 7:38 PM on May 3, 2014


I don't know when remaining unspoiled because such a giant big deal; I don't remember it being so fraught before a few years ago.

Partly the result of the increasing popularity of arc-driven narratives that rely on surprise for their effect, probably; partly the result of the increasing popularity of talking about those narratives online. Combine the two and lots of people start to become hyper-vigilant over the whole idea of spoilers.

On this particular motion, I haven't an opinion at all, really.

I've never been hugely bothered by spoilers, but when I think I might be I try to avoid discussion of whatever it is I want unspoiled.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:45 PM on May 3, 2014


Spoilers: separate but equal.
posted by michaelh at 7:50 PM on May 3, 2014


WTF is GRRM? Is this another thing, like normcore, that I have to worry about?

You're spending a lot of time on something you don't like and never want to read or watch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: You're spending a lot of time on something you don't like and never want to read or watch.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:57 PM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


Metafilter feels that way sometimes.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:57 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


So a SPOILER WARNING before the fold isn't enough? Spoilers inside still may be deleted? Zuh?!?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:17 PM on May 3, 2014


guys these books aren't even that good
posted by shakespeherian at 8:18 PM on May 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I've been enjoying the HBO series so much that I can't wait to read the books if only to know how much it sucks.
posted by vozworth at 8:43 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Everyone just calm the fuck down
posted by edgeways at 8:56 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: downfuck the calm
posted by cashman at 9:15 PM on May 3, 2014


Eyebrows McGee has it right. I feel this needs to be repeated again.

"Personally, when on a general interest site that discusses media, I always expect spoilers about the thing in general. I know that media-specific and fan sites often have more strict policies, but on general-interest sites, all I expect is that they don't put the spoiler in the headline until a week or so has passed.
I am way, way behind on GoT (and not really willing to catch up until GRRM finishes so I know it'll have an ending before I invest enough time in it to catch up!), but it is a massive phenomenon that is just ambient in culture right now and not being up-to-the-minute on it means that, if you choose to read about it on the internet, twists will be spoiled. Personally I do not particularly mind that, as I don't find spoilers diminish my enjoyment more than the amount of enjoyment I get from reading people analyzing the books and show in the current cultural moment. But for the couple of things that I DO mind spoilers about, it's on me to either keep up or to avoid reading about it until I am caught up."


If you're so horribly bothered about book spoilers, you have to do what I did: READ THE DANG BOOKS AND THEN WATCH THE TV SHOW. If this is going to deeply bother you, ONLY YOU CAN CONTROL that. You cannot expect that the entire world is going to shelter you from book mentions going too far. The entire world cannot and will not prevent you from being spoiled for plot points any more. If you cannot watch something the second it comes out on TV and then decide to take a little look at anything on the Internet, you're taking the risk of spoilering. Hell, I haven't been able to watch SHIELD live since it started getting good because I'm taking a class that runs all Tuesday night, I don't have a TiVo, and I'm watching it on Hulu over a week late. Yeah, I've been spoiled for shit that I couldn't avoid. But you know what? That's my fault because I chose to have a life and go learn how to fix cars instead of watching the show live. That was my priority over OMG SPOILERZ.

I think everyone who's upset about spoilers is going to have to learn to live with them, though. You really just can't avoid it any more, period, no matter how much the mods at Metafilter or elsewhere are harassed. You know darned well if you look at anything regarding Westeros or Essos, your chances of reading something past your knowledge point are high. So if that bothers you, it's up to you to go read the damn books or not read any discussion of Westeros or Essos-related anything, ever. You cannot reasonably expect everyone to go spoiler free. Period. Sorry, it's just not logical to expect.

Especially 70+ years later, dude who never saw Citizen Kane.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:21 PM on May 3, 2014 [20 favorites]


Instead of deletion, a mod note reminding people that MetaFilter is not a spoiler-free zone might have done the trick.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:28 PM on May 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


WTF is GRRM? Is this another thing, like normcore, that I have to worry about?

It's a TV show on Friday nights about a New York Congressman who turns into a monster. It's okay, at least for killing an hour while waiting for Hannibal to come on.
posted by homunculus at 9:38 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


READ THE DANG BOOKS AND THEN WATCH THE TV SHOW.

Is there something wrong with wanting to enjoy the show on its own terms?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:39 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


You are unfortunately out of sync with the majority, or at least unaware of massive flame-basted arguments by vocal sections of the userbase on this very forum about how horrible spoilers, especially for the sacrosanct GOT, are.

You know what else isn't governed by reason in this country? Bird law.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:07 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


[crosses fingers, hopes FanFare is allowed to live*]

The edited spoiler warning above the fold should be enough at this point. I think that was a good fix. Since it was sort of there before the comments were deleted, it was perhaps an error to delete them, but live and learn.


*in its own space, away from the Blue
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:08 PM on May 3, 2014


You know what else isn't governed by reason in this country? Harvey Birdman, Attorney at law.

Edited to inspire everyone to post Harvey Birdman spoilers.
posted by davejay at 10:55 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Instead of deletion, a mod note reminding people that MetaFilter is not a spoiler-free zone might have done the trick.

Hear, hear. Metafilter is NSFW sometimes, and Metafilter has spoilers sometimes. Sheesh. Special Snowflakes runnin' rampant.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:53 PM on May 3, 2014


oh ffs if this is going to turn into yet another pile-on thread where I get attacked

Nah, it's just another thread where you're aggressively combative with anyone who disagrees with you, while you simultaneously play the victim and act like you're somehow being singled out by like, everyone who are obviously in cahoots to either harass you or look the other way.

it's like pithy bomb drop/really abrasive post>double down/elaboration>someone disagrees>WOE IS ME, SILENCED ALL MY LIFE.

normally i don't give a fuck because people love to fight with eachother on this site, but when you act like there's some sort of organized illuminati conspiracy between people who obvs hate you and the mods looking the other way and shit it's just too egregious for me to not say anything. Because really dude, seriously?

Sometimes in life when everyone else is saying you're acting out of line it really is unfair, or you're being singled out, or whatever. Sometimes it's just like, violence inherent in the system you win some you lose some kind of stuff that most people experience and you just pulled the short straw a couple times. But when people repeatedly, from a pretty side slice of the userbase here who will even engage in that type of situation, tell you to chill tf out then maybe it's time for some introspection on whether this might be a you thing and that "everyone here calls me an asshole when i'm just like, doing what a lot of other people do and no one bats an eye!" might be taking some creative license with what's really going down.


As for the spoiler stuff, i'm getting really annoyed with how corralled discussion around this kind of thing is getting here. This seems particularly egregious since the original post, even pre edit, said essentially "hey spoilers are going to be going on in here". If people want a walled garden in that sense, it should really be "ok go over to fanfare". I, personally, would be really annoyed if i created an FPP with the intention of discussion taking place that would include spoilers for XYZ, and then when people posted things to that effect the posts got canned. I know someone, possibly even a mod will pop up and go ""lets talk about XYZ thing" isn't why you should make a post" but like come on, asstons of FPPs are basically just a get out of jail free card to have a discussion someone wants to have, and sometimes those are some of the best and most interesting threads.

People who are that offended that spoilers showed up in a thread that said there were going to spoilers, who flagged that post a bunch, should not be reading threads like that. And really, their opinions should not really be weighed all that much when it comes to deleting things. It feels like recalling a cool toy because some kids were intentionally misusing it and hurting themselves, with an extra side dish of it feeling like some weird proxy-war sour grapes stuff from people who want to see this sort of thing be handled in their specific way that they think the site should be run like from front to back, and not just in the areas specifically for talking about this kind of thing.
posted by emptythought at 12:00 AM on May 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


Is there something wrong with wanting to enjoy the show on its own terms?

Nope, that's a totally fine way to be. It's just not workable if I start demanding that everyone else engage with the show (and the books) on my terms. Some people like discussing a piece of art or culture using all available information about that piece of art or culture. That's also a totally fine way to be.

If staying unspoiled is important to me, I can take steps to increase the chance I remain unspoiled. No matter what steps I take, that chance will not be zero. Also, those steps will have costs I need to pay (staying off part or all of the internet for a time, say). I may not always be able to pay them (maybe I need to be online for my job).

So it's not workable for me to be unspoiled 100% of the time. I can't change that, but I can make my peace with it, take the steps that are workable for me, and acknowledge that other people value different things and are going to act differently than I am sometimes.

Since we're talking about community norms, count me down as a +1 for 'outside of FanFare, people should be able to discuss spoilers below the fold, even huge earth shattering spoilers, as long as they aren't violating other community norms'.

It's great that there's a space for people who want to remain unspoilered. Outside that space, the 'no spoilers above the fold, but below the fold they're ok' guideline accommodates people who have strong anti-spoiler preferences, and at the same time allows free-ranging discussions about art and culture.

Those discussions are valuable, and to my mind deleting below-the-fold spoilers because they're big would make the surrounding discussion less valuable. Because there's already a spoiler-sensitive space and a no-spoilers-above-the-fold guideline, that trade-off seems like a bad one to me.
posted by amery at 12:30 AM on May 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I get the Unsullied thing now but when it was first mentioned here, I thought it was referring to people who didn't like spoilers at all, generically. Which I quite like.
posted by fizban at 1:39 AM on May 4, 2014


I wish I understood people whose enjoyment of a show is predicated on not knowing what happens in it...but, more power to them. I still look forward to finishing my Breaking Bad DVDs, even though I know everything that happens. Surely I cannot be the only one?

Why should spoiler prudes have the power to dictate the conversation for everyone else? I've never read the books, never watched the show, but I enjoy the Game of Thrones threads--everything I know about the series (books and TV) I learned via gifs on tumblr* and Metafilter threads. I would like more spoilers, since given my age and the million other things I like to do, I will likely never, ever watch the show or read the books. It's the TV equivalent of EVE for me...I'm fascinated by it but will never play it.

* Ditto Supernatural or whatever the show with the Winchesters is. I finally watched a short youtube clip and I can say that Jensen Ackles voice is absolutely, 100% NOT the voice I had imagined the actor having, based on photos. Must rethink my theory.
posted by maxwelton at 2:28 AM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm the exact same maxwelton, and I'm married to a spoiler prude. But what works for our relationship (never talk about media unless we've both watched it or he doesn't want to) won't work for a community.

I feel like the agonising over spoilers has increased over the past few years. Completely subjective, and some of that comes from having the shits with people who act like I killed a cat if I let slip a casting decision. And it seems like a self-referencing and self-reinforcing cycle - you should care about spoilers because spoilers matter so you should feel bad if it's spoiled because spoilers ruin things because they're spoilers.

I swear I've read something (maybe in The Guardian) linking it to a sense of both entitlement and 'fast food media' type issues. That spoilers are bad because our experience of media is the most important, because we're that special, and that there's no point to a piece of media if you know what happens (as if the story is unimportant). I didn't entirely agree, but sometimes it feels like the strum und drang of spoilers is unrelated to the media piece.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:33 AM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Deletions for spoilers are pretty much the only deletions I support. Spoilers are unnecessary, and posting them is simply being a spoilsport. Anyone who has experienced the thrill of an unexpected plot twist or a surprising revelation in a story really ought to understand why spoilers suck massively. They deserve to be taken out.
posted by Decani at 5:59 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Mods do not police spoilers on the site" is not an equivalent statement to "Mods will never delete spoilers from the site."
posted by solotoro at 6:10 AM on May 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Hahahahaa so Decani, you come out of the woodwork to protest every other deletion as if it's PC McCarthyism times one million, but when it's something you personally find kindof annoying you're all for deleting ANY SPOILER NO MATTER WHAT? How are you real.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:15 AM on May 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


If nothing else, this thread has given me cause to reconsider my approach to proselytizers.

Q: Good morning, brother, have you heard the good news?
A: No spoilers!
posted by logicpunk at 6:17 AM on May 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


In a thread clearly marked 'spoilers', I don't really understand why spoilers were deleted.
posted by empath at 6:32 AM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Q: Good morning, brother, have you heard the good news?
A: No spoilers!


Turns out the major character that comes back at the end of GOT is: Jesus.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:39 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


If GRRM turns this into some kind of Narnia-esque allegory I will ....

I literally can't think of anything bad enough.

probably just throw the book across the room and curse angrily, then come to Metafilter and curse angrily some more. HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT, GEORGE?
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:57 AM on May 4, 2014


If the comments deleted from the GoT dragons thread were deleted just because they were spoilers, I'd be opposed to it. However if restless_nomad and LobsterMitten's explanations are accurate (it was a derail, and maybe getting fighty), it was probably an OK deletion and not a major divergence from site policy. Since there are other, on-topic spoilers for the show in the dragons thread that didn't get deleted, I'm inclined to believe the explanation.

The mods' deletion decisions usually aren't capricious, and policy changes on MeFi usually happen only after a really long discussion.
posted by nangar at 7:30 AM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hahahahaa so Decani, you come out of the woodwork to protest every other deletion as if it's PC McCarthyism times one million, but when it's something you personally find kindof annoying you're all for deleting ANY SPOILER NO MATTER WHAT? How are you real.

Decani is a project run by an artists' collective in Albuquerque.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:31 AM on May 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Deletions for spoilers are pretty much the only deletions I support. Spoilers are unnecessary, and posting them is simply being a spoilsport. Anyone who has experienced the thrill of an unexpected plot twist or a surprising revelation in a story really ought to understand why spoilers suck massively. They deserve to be taken out.

So....you aren't the advocate for free expression that you've always claimed to be, then?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I reread that damned dragon size article like twice looking for the place where there were spoilers about the unsullied. So. If nothing else, I'm glad this thread cleared that up for me.
posted by moss at 8:37 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Spoilers are unnecessary, and posting them is simply being a spoilsport.

Talking about media you like on the internet isn't being a spoilsport. People need to take some responsibility for their own conduct on the internet and not go into threads where spoilers are likely to happen (particularly when they say "spoiler warning" over the fold.)

Also, if people are being aggressive and fighty now on the Blue about spoilers (on top of the flagging pattern), I would like to suggest the mods delete fightiness about spoilers, again, particularly in thread labelled for spoiler warnings, as a derail. Complaints about spoilers belong here in MeTa where we talk about the site, not on the Blue; they are the derail, always.
posted by immlass at 8:39 AM on May 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


People need to take some responsibility for their own conduct on the internet

That's all we're saying. Be compassionate and considerate. Know that your conduct affects other people, and exercise some self control.

and not go into threads where spoilers are likely to happen (particularly when they say "spoiler warning" over the fold.)

Oh. Only some people need to take responsibility for their conduct, apparently. Never mind.

(Incidentally, it said "minor book spoilers" for something called Unsullied, whatever that is. A book, apparently.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


amery, thanks for writing the exact post I would have written to respond to that had I been up at 12:30 this morning :) You can enjoy the show on its own without reading, you just have to accept that it's impossible to filter for book talk and you'll have to deal with hearing it. If that bothers you, then read the books. That's all I meant. (And hoo boy, am I glad I decided to read the books last summer before viewing because I was debating doing otherwise. Not worth the drama to not read them, in my opinion.)

maxwelton: yeah, privately I'm with you there. Just because I heard Joffrey died at the Purple Wedding (huzzah!) doesn't mean I can't enjoy watching him turn purple at some point. I mean, you get surprised either way, right? It's just in one case the surprise comes earlier than the other. But dear lord, it's not worth it to have that argument with the OMG SPOILERZ people, so I don't bother.

I do think towerofthehand.com has THE best way of coping with spoilers ever, i.e. filtering for how far along you've read or viewed. I don't know jack about programming, but I think it'd be a great idea if more websites had that ability to filter.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's all we're saying. Be compassionate and considerate. Know that your conduct affects other people, and exercise some self control.

Putting a spoiler warning above the fold in a thread IS being compassionate, considerate, and exercising self-control. I totally understand that spoilers ruin the way that some people experience media, but other people actually like talking about spoilers. Using spoiler warnings seems like the best compromise so that people who like talking about spoilers can do so, and people who hate spoilers can avoid them. Suggesting that people refrain from posting spoilers just because certain people don't like them to exist, even in clearly marked places that can be avoided, seems like overkill.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


for something called Unsullied, whatever that is. A book, apparently.

You think that's an obscure fandom? Try the Unscullied, the X-Files fans who believe that Dana Scully is a fragment of Fox Mulder's shattered consciousness with no objective existence. They watch recordings of the show with all material by Gillian Anderson digitally removed. Strange but true*.

In the interests of full disclosure, by "true" in this comment, I mean "not true."**

** In the interests of digression, I want to admit that I originally typed "dull disclosure" in the previous footnote, and no sense was lost!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:04 AM on May 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


(Incidentally, it said "minor book spoilers" for something called Unsullied, whatever that is. A book, apparently.)

If I believed this comment was anything but disingenuous rules-lawyering, I might gently suggest that "Game of Thrones" and "book spoilers" was your clue to not click through if you're a show fan who wants to remain completely unspoiled. People who want to experience the show without spoilers of any sort now have FanFare for their discussion needs. Threads in the Blue, particularly those with warnings, are for people who want/don't mind spoilers.
posted by immlass at 9:18 AM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I realized a while ago that my spoiler sensitivity is such that I just can't read Game of Thrones threads. Example: someone said (paraphrased) "If you look carefully, you can tell from clues in the first two episodes who committed the murder" and to me that felt like a spoiler, because now I knew that there was stuff in the first episode pointing to it and not just stuff in the second episode.

Anyway, too bad for me. I certainly don't expect MetaFilter to stop saying anything remotely spoilerly for my benefit. And hey, I can still read Mad Men threads.
posted by dfan at 9:26 AM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Spoiler-laden conversations on the blue seem fine -- though I admit I get annoyed when spoilers for entirely unrelated shows pop up in comments without warning because it's impossible to avoid those -- but why call the spoilers "minor" if they are not, in fact, minor? (I haven't followed the threads because although I read the books, I actually don't remember what happened in them, and I watch the show, but in December when it feels right and I can binge watch.)
posted by jeather at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2014


Slightly more seriously, I think spoilers are a divisive issue because people mean so many things by them. I think everyone can agree that giving away key plot points (especially carelessly/unnecessarily) from a show or movie that just aired is kind of jerky behavior, but what are you going to do with people who are mad at you for mentioning that the volcano probably erupts in Pompeii (especially when they put it in the trailer)? On the other hand, I get the pain of people who are fans of a show but who can't watch it as it comes out (because of money or time constraints or because they live in a country that doesn't broadcast it immediately) have the choice of not engaging with their interest at all or risking a loss of suspense. On the other other hand, I get that there are a lot of people who are up-to-date on their show and want to be able to discuss it in depth without worrying if they are going to piss someone off as a result.

As I've said before, I don't care about spoilers because my interest in plot is kind of academic -- I like neatly constructed plots, but that enjoyment is not really affected by knowing some of the events in advance. I'm a lot more interested in character, setting, and so on. (Just watched the first disk of Hannibal, and I'm kind of meh on the story, and I don't love the characters, but I'm kind of mesmerized by the way the scenes are composed.) But I don't expect everyone to feel the way I do, and I don't know where that leaves us for a sensible site policy or general community approaches to discussing a show in a "fair" way.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:32 AM on May 4, 2014


nangar: "Also, if people are being aggressive and fighty now on the Blue about spoilers (on top of the flagging pattern), I would like to suggest the mods delete fightiness about spoilers, again, particularly in thread labelled for spoiler warnings, as a derail. Complaints about spoilers belong here in MeTa where we talk about the site, not on the Blue; they are the derail, always."

I agree. I'm not normally all "parade of horribles!" about things, but I have seen other sites get twisted up over this, where the spoiler-haters pile on the spoiler-discussers (in spoiler-okay discussion areas) and manage to stifle all discussion of spoilers by turning it into a moderation nightmare. I trust our moderation team (and furthermore I'm okay with it if sometimes they make mistakes doing a hard job), so I don't want to sound like I'm calling out this specific instance; I just want to talk about spoilers in general as a matter of site culture since it seems to be a big topic for us lately. And I agree with nangar on this: Complaints about spoilers (in a thread on the blue labeled as having spoilers) belong over here on metatalk.

jeather: "but why call the spoilers "minor" if they are not, in fact, minor?"

This is part of why I think that the spoiler-avoider has to take responsibility for avoiding their own spoilers, particularly with GoT. Since we all interact with media differently, it's impossible to know what other people will consider spoilers. (I'm going to talk about Harry Potter so stop reading now if you haven't finished and want to read it unspoiled.) For example, to me, the fact that Ron and Hermione were going to end up together was obvious from the very first book, and no more a "spoiler" than "Harry has a birthday." But to other people it was a HUGE surprise. And I watched some fan-spaces have complete meltdowns over this, where people like me* (to whom it was obvious) mentioned it in passing and people for whom it was a spoiler FREAKED OUT about being spoiled.

*I mean, like me, but not me, because I know better than to make any relationship predictions in a fandom that includes a lot of teenagers! This is not my first rodeo!

With Game of Thrones, because it is an ongoing book series, and ongoing television series, and has a wide range of fans (from the devoted to the very casual), it's very difficult to know what others will find spoilery. Is it a spoiler to mention someone who's been cast in the show? Is it a spoiler to mention someone's contract has been released? Some people keep very good track of the books vs. the show, but other people read the books a bit back and watch the show with half their attention and confuse in their heads what part of the books have and haven't been on the show yet, and accidentally spill beans when they get confused about chronology. Is it a spoiler to mention symbolism or foreshadowing you've noticed that other people might not have? Even someone with the very best of intentions of avoiding spoilers might accidentally spoil someone for GoT, because of the complexity of having two current, living canons and the hugeness of the cultural GoT phenomenon. If you read GoT discussions, even in very restrictive fan-specific environments with fierce anti-spoiler enforcement, sometimes people are going to slip up and you're going to see an accidental spoiler before it gets removed. If you read GoT threads on a general-interest site like the blue, where spoilers are okay (though usually noted as "spoilers ahead"), there are definitely going to be spoilers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:12 AM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


it said "minor book spoilers"

About the link. It said that about the link, not any future comments that might be made.I can't really see fpp authors being expected to predict what kind of comments might get made. And I certainly don't want them to be able to dictate that in advance.

why call the spoilers "minor" if they are not, in fact, minor?

See above.
posted by ODiV at 10:29 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Where's River Song when you need her?
posted by Chairboy at 10:34 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


For example, to me, the fact that Ron and Hermione were going to end up together was obvious from the very first book, and no more a "spoiler" than "Harry has a birthday." But to other people it was a HUGE surprise. And I watched some fan-spaces have complete meltdowns over this, where people like me* (to whom it was obvious) mentioned it in passing and people for whom it was a spoiler FREAKED OUT about being spoiled.

You don't see a difference between predictions (which was what Hermione and Ron was until book 7, no matter how incredibly heavily it was suggested in earlier books) and spoilers? I guess I don't know the context for this story.

And, honestly, I do take care not to spoil myself for things -- I'm pretty good at it. But sometimes, it's not possible to do because people drop spoilers for thing X in a conversation about thing Y (this is very common in discussions of series finales, for instance). And it would be nice if people who like to tell spoilers were conscious of where they were doing it; it's as much on you to drop spoilers in appropriate places only as it is on me to avoid places full of likely spoilers. Sure, there are always grey areas, but people who like spoilers (which is fine! sometimes I like spoilers too!) are not that heavily inconvenienced by marking out surprising spoilers (so, a Wheel of Time spoiler in a GoT thread or something), or even the first comment with major GoT spoilers in it [given the post didn't say there would be any] could mention it's doing that so the TV-watchers can get out.

I know I comment in the Hannibal threads, which are essentially 100% spoilers for every single book and movie -- books I haven't read except one and movies I haven't seen -- and that the culture around Hannibal is different from that around GoT (I can't offhand think of another tv show in the same situation), perhaps because GoT is about the narrative more than Hannibal is. But it is not a surprise to anyone that a lot of people want to avoid spoilers, and it doesn't seem horrible to ask people to make a note about when the thread is going to turn to All The Spoilers (especially if there's another post just down the page which is already about it).
posted by jeather at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Decani is a project run by an artists' collective in Albuquerque.

So, in the words of Hilton Kramer, this is what modern art has come to ...
posted by octobersurprise at 11:22 AM on May 4, 2014


You don't see a difference between predictions (which was what Hermione and Ron was until book 7, no matter how incredibly heavily it was suggested in earlier books) and spoilers?

I think many of us do (I do--I don't consider it properly a spoiler, really, unless it's a big twist), but there are people who take a very expansive view of spoiling. In the last thread about spoilers--the FanFare is open thread--people were even staking out anti-speculation turf, though GoT has some particular problems and a lot of really vocal fans who are militant about how they enjoy whatever they like out of the media stew. But I've also seen here, and IRL had particularly spoiler-sensitive people complain about, discussion of plot points in media that's 30 or 40 years old (including points spoiled on book covers!). So I tend to assume that people who are anti-spoiler are using a fairly broad definition of the word.

To be clear, I don't want to go into people's threads and deliberately ruin things. The people who drive by Harry Potter release parties shouting out who killed Dumbledore are dicks! Let's not be dicks. Let's warn "hey, spoilers are in this thread" and let's assume the Blue is generally likely to have spoilers, particularly now that FanFare is going to be spoiler-free. I just want to be able to talk about what's going on and what I think might be happening in a show or movie or book without getting e-yelled at because someone who hasn't read it jumped into the conversation and is unhappy.
posted by immlass at 11:28 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


> nangar: "Also, if people are being aggressive and fighty now on the Blue about spoilers (on top of the flagging pattern), I would like to suggest...

While I fully agree with the sentiments expressed, the quoted bit was from immlass, not me. (No big deal.)
posted by nangar at 11:29 AM on May 4, 2014


It's all a big homage to Hamlet and everyone dies by the end with the filthy foreigners standing around and essentially going... Wut?
posted by edgeways at 11:40 AM on May 4, 2014


people were even staking out anti-speculation turf

That was mostly me, and I was less staking out than explaining how that works and letting people know that extensive, lengthy, varied, fruitful, fantastic discussions can take place without speculation and spoilers because some made it seem like that wasn't possible and they couldn't understand how it worked unless someone showed them.

So I showed them. Gave it right to em like I owed 'em. That's when I changed from Shrek the Ogre into Master Yoda.

Sorry, spent to much time in that rap vocabulary thread!
posted by cashman at 12:03 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess to me it's kind of like NSFW.

If you're on Metafilter, you're going to encounter things that are NFSW and people will laugh at you for complaining. Okay, well enough, but it should be just the same for spoilers. No one is going to get fired for reading about how some imaginary person is dead. People sometimes have been fired for weird stuff in their browser history. If it's caveat lector for the one, it should be caveat lector for the other.
posted by winna at 12:04 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


nangar: "While I fully agree with the sentiments expressed, the quoted bit was from immlass, not me. (No big deal.)"

Whoops, sorry! I had too many tabs open at once.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:22 PM on May 4, 2014


I guess to me it's kind of like NSFW.

If you're on Metafilter, you're going to encounter things that are NFSW and people will laugh at you for complaining.


Which, as far as I know, is either noted as such in the post or gets 27 comments saying it should have been and is edited to add NSFW because NSFW is fine, but surprise NSFW isn't.
posted by jeather at 12:26 PM on May 4, 2014


Then there's no problem since the thread about which we're having the discussion clearly stated there were spoilers in the post itself.

Hurrah we have achieved comity!
posted by winna at 12:28 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


As a side note, does "people who like spoilers" really describe what's under discussion here? Variations on this phrase have been used by people leaning in either prescriptive direction, and it seems to me like this would describe, at most, those who seek out information about unpublished/unaired material.

But in this context, outside of the book vs. TV stuff that plagues this one series, isn't any discussion of the plot of a book/movie/show/etc. a spoiler to someone who hasn't yet read/watched it?
posted by nobody at 12:48 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


But in this context, outside of the book vs. TV stuff that plagues this one series, isn't any discussion of the plot of a book/movie/show/etc. a spoiler to someone who hasn't yet read/watched it?

Pretty much. I've never read the books or seen the show, so everything is spoilery to me. I wouldn't expect much sympathy if I demanded it never be mentioned ever again on the off-chance I decide to watch it in the future though.
posted by tinkletown at 1:00 PM on May 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


maxwelton: "I wish I understood people whose enjoyment of a show is predicated on not knowing what happens in it...but, more power to them. I still look forward to finishing my Breaking Bad DVDs, even though I know everything that happens. Surely I cannot be the only one?"

My enjoyment is predicated on not knowing but the enjoyment can certainly be of a different flavour. I can still rewatch say The Sixth Sense and enjoy it but the first viewing was different. And it's pretty hard to recapture that ingorant viewing enjoyment if I know an unexpected plot point or resolution.

And while I don't personally watch sports it seems like one of the only things keeping cable companies going is first run sporting events. Not knowing the outcome of any particular play seems to be strongly tied to enjoyment of the event.
posted by Mitheral at 3:46 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't understand why there should be any fuss or discussion about this; if you're warned in advance that the thread is about GOT and there are spoilers, how is it anyone's fault but your own if you read it and are horrified at the spoilers?
posted by aryma at 4:07 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


God fuck media experiences.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:09 PM on May 4, 2014


maxwelton: you're not the only one.
Count me as one more person confused by people entering clearly marked threads and then being shocked, shocked to find there are spoilers within. Maybe don't assume that people are spoiling out of malice, and that they instead just want to discuss a thing they like, much as you do?
posted by agentofselection at 4:17 PM on May 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


you're not the only one.

Ha! I happened to see that study yesterday (spoiler alert, PDF). The respondents were ye olde psychology undergrads at a single university, and the study didn't involve television or films.

Still it did make me wonder if some of this is generational. I love suspense. And you kind of got used to that when you had no control over the television. You were watching whatever was on that channel because the tv you were watching had no remote control, and besides, that knob was hard as hell to turn. There was no pausing, no rewinding. You sat there and you watched. You consumed. If it was a show like the Twilight Zone, you took it all in, waiting for the twist. Trying to figure out who the martian was, or what that voice was, or what would happen to these men who were now fighting and bickering. And that reveal at the end was killer. It meant something. It was supposed to mean something. After you saw that, you were supposed to feel like what if magic existed? What if there was another dimension that someone got stuck in?

So you developed a love for that feeling, that experience. Sure you had things you'd seen and hunches you had, but it would be a royal jerk move to blurt that out in front of anyone else watching, and the point was the experience.

Contrast that now to, as someone noted in one of these behemoth threads, how some media makers assume spoilers will be out there, so they throw in things to distract and distort (which come off as cheap at times), to still try to hide the plot twist or the mystery. Or others that don't bother with the point being the entirety of the content, but rather making each scene a visual experience, sort of the 5SF, vine-ization of media. It isn't about not knowing. It isn't about the total experience. It's about putting ridiculous amounts of detail in so that every scene is gif-able. Each segment is something to consume, rather than creating a whole experience.

I remember when someone got a hold of an episode of Teen Wolf and leaked it onto the internet. And the creator tweeted or tumbled some statements about how crushed they were, and how it hurt them. And the internet pretty much shrugged. It's playing to the lowest denominator to me - a good amount of people just want to be first to know something or say something. To the point where you're not going to sit there and wait. People yelling catchphrases at Chappelle, because you're not going to sit there and wait, right? TL:DR I'm rich, bitch.

From the article I saw that study linked in:
"Alan Sepinwall still has a hard time understanding the psychology of spoilsports. "Surprise isn't the single most important part of a story," he says. "I liked this week's Game of Thrones even though a bunch of jerks had spoiled it for me in advance — but it's also not something that should be discarded if the storyteller intended for things to be surprising."

So what does drive the spoilsport? We have a few notions:

Showing off. Some spoilers simply enjoy being know-it-alls. The UCSD study, according to Nicholas Christenfeld, suggests that people who know the way a story turns or ends enjoy an insider status, in the same way that gossip and telling people secrets might be exclusive. "You know something that makes you special," Nicholas explains, "and the only way you can demonstrate that you know it is to tell it to people, regardless of the effect it has on them."

Intimidation. Writing on the Gaia message board, a user called Legend of the Moon says: "I enjoy spoiling the ending for people. And scaring away noob fans. These things bring me joy." In this case, spoiling — and frightening neophytes — is like a mild form of online bullying.

Respect for the storyteller or the genre. At the start of the new season, Alan Sepinwall had a tough time dealing with the two camps of Game of Thrones fans — the readers of the books and the watchers of the TV series. "It got so ugly that I turned off comments on all reviews," Alan says, "and set up separate message boards — for the readers and the non-readers." That experiment lasted about a half-hour into this new season, he says, before a book reader went in and posted spoilers on every major upcoming plot development. Alan says that some people who have read the books feel that those who have not are somehow unworthy and deserve to be punished by having things spoiled for them constantly."
I also feel like a lot of us, me included, forget that 16-year olds roll around on the internet. And they haven't seen Soylent Green, but they may like sci-fi. They haven't seen the Twilight Zone, though some like suspense and mystery. And to me it kind of sucks to say "That's been around for 40 years, why haven't you seen it yet?!" Because everybody can't have seen everything that gets referred to. And to me, an ending like that of Planet of the Apes deserves to be experienced old school style. If you know the ending of that film, you cannot experience the movie as it was written to be experienced. The points it tried to make, the ideas it's supposed to get you to think about, many of those are lost if you know the ending.

It isn't any worse, it's just different. Maybe that's what people are getting at when saying this is the internet, why police spoilers. On the internet, everything is sped up. Hours are like days. You can find spoilers for anything, sometimes get material in advance, and get any information you want. Suspense? What's that? And why go to the trouble of trying to hide some secret, when inevitably someone will leak it. Why go to the trouble of making some spectacular album like Detox, when inevitably, someone will leak it, because nobody is going to wait on the internet.

So maybe we should just go full force in that direction. No policing spoilers. The internet is what it is. Nobody is trying to sit there and wait to see who the killer is, or see what the twist is, or wait for the joke, or the specs, or trade, because, well, that would involve suspense and waiting.

Nothing wrong with it, just maybe different than before. I can do it either way, so whatever happens, happens. I thought about gathering the opinions of content creators. To see what they thought about spoilers. But even if almost all of them lamented about spoilers, it means nothing, because the way the internet is, nobody is waiting. Nobody is holding your secret. Nobody is keeping some big plot twist to themselves because someone is going to blab, Quaid. We might as well throw in the towel and just accept spoilers everywhere. Suspense is dead. In the someday immortal words of Sweet Brown, aint nobody got time for that.
posted by cashman at 5:26 PM on May 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


I didn't see the comment, but aren't malicious spoilers a completely different kettle of fish?
posted by ODiV at 6:22 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


cashman, I don't think that is actually happening on metafilter. No one is saying "all spoilers, all the time!" We are discussing a thread that had spoiler warnings right out front. The enjoying-content-the-way-Rod-Serling-intended sky is not falling. I also think you are jumping to conclusions about the reasons that people here on metafilter discuss spoilers. Some people out there on the internet will do the equivalent of walking past the ticket line for The Empire Strikes Back shouting "Vader is Luke's Father!" But the deleted comment from this thread was just "I didn't like x, it was like y" in a thread about x, where both x and y were spoilers. After you finished watching The Twilight Zone, didn't you like to talk to your friends about it? If you genuinely don't like discussing media with other people, why even go into a GoT thread? People talk about media because they like talking about media, not just for social dominance purposes.

I also don't think that enjoying spoiled stories is some new-fangled thing. For the vast majority of human history, most of the time that people read books/heard stories/watched plays they were stories that the consumers already knew. And the people still liked the stories! This isn't a new thing.

And as for the study: yeah, it was only American college psych students and written media, but they were suspense/mystery stories. You don't think it can be generalized, I do. That wasn't really the point though. I'm not trying to tell people who don't like spoilers that they're wrong. People are welcome to their own preferences. I'm just citing evidence that some people do like spoilers, they are not a universal bad.
posted by agentofselection at 6:35 PM on May 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


it was only American college psych students and written media

And at a single university. I'm just saying lets stop short of acting like that paper is a notable thing.

I was just responding to that study. I know the thread had a spoiler warning and I agree that anybody that went inside and was spoiled, well that's on you.
posted by cashman at 6:40 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I stompily huffed out of Fanfare by way of MeTa, because I went to FanFare before the policy was ironed out and (I've been convinced, albeit grudgingly) GoT is a special case and that whodunit was a special case within the special case, unlikely to be repeated. My usual, super-successful method is avoiding threads of any sort about the media I'm following. It's malicious bullshittery or sheerest thoughtlessness when someone spoils *outside* of a topic-related thread, but when you know it's coming, look after your own interests. Just don't read the thread if it has spoilers and you are spoiler-sensitive, or if you really don't want to take that chance with this show-book-movie-videogame.

(About Citizen Kane: by my lights, Charles Schulz was kind of a malicious bullshitter for springing a film spoiler in Peanuts, but that's the joke of the strip. It's Lucy, who can dish out all sorts of fun-ruining out but can't take it herself, because she's such a delicate-minded fussbudget. Besides, it's another special case anyway: the movie was over thirty years old by 1973 and although the question, "Why Rosebud?" launches the central story of the film, by the time the answer is revealed, it's really just a callback to that initial moment.)
posted by gingerest at 10:59 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

corb: “I have some helpful advice for a lot of the people posting in this thread.”
I don't know what possessed me, but I desperately wanted that link to lead to this. Still, I agree that it does seem like there are a great many people who need to relax a little. We're veering dangerously close to "the flat-footed people shooting at the buck-toothed people" here.

This entire affair, including the FanFare mega-thread, reminds me of the old saw about academic politics. The moderators of this site have an essentially impossible job because no matter what they do they can't please everybody. I don't envy them that.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:06 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I mentioned above that I think the comment should have stayed, but I admit I am a weird one that doesn't care about spoilers at all. Often knowing there is something different is enough for me to get it. I knew the ending of "The 6th Sense" before I entered the theater just because no one wanted "to ruin the end" for me. I still enjoyed the movie.

This said, I find the hand wrangling over this a bit much. The mods said the policy hasn't changed, so let it go. Occasionally there is a deletion people don't agree with. That comes with the territory of a moderated site.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:20 AM on May 5, 2014


It's malicious bullshittery or sheerest thoughtlessness when someone spoils *outside* of a topic-related thread, but when you know it's coming, look after your own interests. Just don't read the thread if it has spoilers and you are spoiler-sensitive, or if you really don't want to take that chance with this show-book-movie-videogame.

There go all my jumbled thoughts, distilled down to two sentences. As someone who tries to remain very spoiler-free for some things I know that means sometimes I have to err on the side of avoiding spoilers at the expense of participating in a discussion. Qué lástima.

It's all starting to make me cranky because it seems like so much of the discussion is just people explaining their views over and over instead of trying to come to a consensus over the policy details that works best for the site. Maybe Dana will have to agree not to talk about next-episode previews, and maybe Stacy will have to concede that people are going to speculate about who shot J.R.

I know GoT is a special case, but I don't see how we discuss other shows without clearing up these grey areas first. For example, I have a baseless-but-possible theory about The Americans but this type of thing has been raised as a concern by a few people. I'll repeat my request from 500 comments ago in the other thread that the mods start a new MeTa before opening up the rest of the site to either announce the official policies or hammer out the details.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:02 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Room 641-A: "It's all starting to make me cranky because it seems like so much of the discussion is just people explaining their views over and over instead of trying to come to a consensus over the policy details that works best for the site. "

Bingo.
posted by zarq at 7:52 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Besides, it's another special case anyway: the movie was over thirty years old by 1973 and although the question, "Why Rosebud?" launches the central story of the film, by the time the answer is revealed, it's really just a callback to that initial moment.

Well, that's another can of beans. Personally, I think it's ridiculous to complain about spoiling things decades (or millennia) old -- surely, at some point, it's not unreasonable to say "this is past the statute of limitations. I mean, there could be someone who doesn't know about the twist in Psycho. Do I spoil the film for them if I allude to it? They have had some 70 years to watch it if they wished. You might say "what if that person was, say, 20, and hadn't had the chance until now; you could spoil it for them. Which is true, but it's also ignoring that there are several earlier twists in the film which are equally important and utterly unavailable to a 20 year old because they rely on the viewer knowing about the actors of the time and what an audience would expect from a film with them in it. So, in a sense, Psycho is already unwatchable as an "unspoiled film" because the "unspoiled" watcher is too ignorant, not not ignorant enough.

I still try to ask if people mind my revealing things in conversation, out of a vague sense of politeness, but I kind of roll my eyes by people being spoiled by the big plot developments in Titanic and Pompeii -- did't they learn that the ship was Luke's father in High School?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:19 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


did't they learn that the ship was Luke's father in High School?

IIRC, Luke whined about how he'd wished he'd been told the spoilers for the next three scenes. To a dead guy.
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:39 AM on May 5, 2014


It also would've been nice if Alan Dean Foster had been told at least one of the spoilers, because Ew.
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


did't they learn that the ship was Luke's father in High School?

Not long ago, I encountered a couple of college students who'd never heard of the Korean War. I was very careful not to spoil the end of MASH for them.

Broadly, this is a pretty inescapable problem of a kind of cultural asynchrony. When so much of our visual media heritage is almost instantly available as well as the opportunity to talk about it all now with a global audience, then, yes, there will always be people who are entirely ignorant of some plotted media* others take for granted. That's just the nature of media consumption in a highly networked age. In this particular forum, it shouldn't be entirely caveat emptor, I would hope, but in general that's the attitude a viewer who really cares about the thrill of surprise has to take toward the internet.

*(I've never heard anyone say "Thanks for spoiling The Rite Of Spring for me, assmunch!")
posted by octobersurprise at 9:14 AM on May 5, 2014


It's all starting to make me cranky because it seems like so much of the discussion is just people explaining their views over and over instead of trying to come to a consensus over the policy details that works best for the site.

I don't personally care about whether other people like being spoiled or not other than in a sort of general way: it sucks for those who hate to find out too much to have their experience ruined, but that's the internet, Jake. I do care about site policy and my participation in this thread is about whether a policy I don't like (nothing that might "spoil" people who haven't yet experienced a particular media item) spreads from FanFare to the rest of the site for whatever reason (mod concern about fights, aggressive flagging, other possibilities).

As far as the cultural stuff goes, I'm of an age where I'm boggled that people expect to go through life experiencing old media without knowing any details. Someone upthread said that there will always be sixteen year olds. So does this mean Metafilter can never discuss Citizen Kane or the Empire Strikes Back or Psycho or the Sixth Sense because someone on the site might not have watched any of those movies? Some of this is just plain cultural flotsam now, and not being able to talk about any of that for fear that someone might accidentally learn something they didn't want to know about a decades-old film is ridiculous. In the broad definition, anything can be a spoiler. Where's the room for common knowledge? Where's the room for public conversation?

(I was there when Empire Strikes Back came out. Whether or not you know who Luke's father was, you are not going to have that experience seeing it fresh. The culture has moved on. I missed seeing movies older than I am for the first time in the theaters too. I saw them on TV or in rep and often learned about them in advance. It's not the same, but that doesn't make it terrible.)

Policy-wise, I do want the mods to delete dickish and deliberate ruining of surprises, twists, and endings, but I don't want a new policy of catering to the FanFare norms on the rest of the site. I also got the sense upthread that some people may be deliberately flagging what they consider to be spoilers (even in the broadest sense) for their own "political" reasons, whether that's moving the Overton window of site policy that they've never been satisfied with or because if their "spoilers" got deleted on FanFare, everybody else's spoilers should be deleted on the Blue, too. I'm not interested in site policy getting embroiled in someone else's gotcha game; I hope the mods terminate any such behavior with extreme prejudice.

Also, site policy-wise, the point about NSFW posts also resonates with me. I'm sure there will be people who are happy to leave NSFW posts as they are and censor discussion of recent TV and movies completely (even if the post says "spoilers"). I'm going to hope that there are more people who want to be able to talk about media--with warnings for those who want to avoid ruining their own experience--than there are people who just plain want to censor any conversation that might in any way "lessen" or change their own experience of said media in advance.
posted by immlass at 9:56 AM on May 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


MetaTalk: not just for social dominance purposes.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: not just for social dominance purposes.
Christ, does that mean I'm here because I like to be?
posted by agentofselection at 11:27 AM on May 5, 2014


immlass: "I was there when Empire Strikes Back came out. Whether or not you know who Luke's father was, you are not going to have that experience seeing it fresh. "

At this point, if you watch the movies in numerical order, the twins are named by their mother on screen in episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. And there's no question of who their daddy is.

Not only has our culture moved on, but so has the entire series of movies.
posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


YOU GUYS I HAVE NEVER SEEN STAR WARS.
posted by lalex at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


I thought of you all this morning because I saw a woman and her trainer arguing at the gym about whether one had just spoiled the other on some show I'm not familiar with (maybe "The Americans"? Is that a show that has spoilers?).

Also I still never got around to seeing The Crying Game which I remember everyone being unusually secretive about to "not spoil the ending" when I was in high school, even the big metro daily paper. Every now and then I feel guilty that all these people worked so hard to keep it secret and I never bothered to see it. But oh well, I still haven't seen The Matrix either. It's about how Keanu Reeves is really good at solving rectangular arrays of numbers, right?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Man, going to The Matrix completely ignorant was one of the best movie going experiences of my life.

"You want to go see an action sci-fi movie starring Keanu Reeves?"
"Eh... Yeah, why not? I've got nothing better to do."
posted by ODiV at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


octobersurprise: "Not long ago, I encountered a couple of college students who'd never heard of the Korean War. I was very careful not to spoil the end of MASH for them."

It wasn't a chicken.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:22 PM on May 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Lordy. Sometimes reading a MeTa thread is like watching a bill being debated on CSPAN2.

I hate spoilers in general, but I've given up my 'striving for unsulliedness' - no media space is safe anymore in our postmodern infotainment multiverse. The other day I was driving home for lunch hoping for news briefs and a weather report on the local public radio station, and in her promo for the show about to start Terri Gross spoiled something from the end of last season's Mad Men (which I haven't gotten to yet on teh Netflix) before I could even reach for the dashboard to change the radio channel. Sigh. I know, my bad for consuming a medium as linearly primitive and authoritarian as FM radio.
posted by aught at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Remember when Rosie O'Donnell spoiled Fight Club?
posted by ODiV at 1:48 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Remember when Rosie O'Donnell spoiled Fight Club?

Shit, Rosie O'Donnell spoiled Fight Club?? I haven't watched that episode of her show yet! Crap.
posted by aught at 1:51 PM on May 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


Don't want to spoil the rest of the run for you, but keep in mind as you work your way through that there's a lot about her Tom Cruise crush that is no longer considered canon.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2014 [13 favorites]


I can't even imagine watching a daily talk show to catch up.

Somewhere out there there's a tumblr and book deal just waiting for someone willing to watch archived talk shows exactly 10 years after they've aired.
posted by ODiV at 2:06 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Forget spoiler warnings - I also need warnings for horrible time suck ideas like that.

*searches YouTube for 2004 episodes of The Montel Williams Show*
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:26 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do care about site policy and my participation in this thread is about whether a policy I don't like (nothing that might "spoil" people who haven't yet experienced a particular media item) spreads from FanFare to the rest of the site for whatever reason

There is already a spoiler policy on the rest of the site about not putting any spoilers above the fold, which rightly then puts the onus on the reader to decide whether to click through. I agree that the FanFare policies should remain in FanFare, and I'm pretty sure the mods have said the same thing. It's not the subject of this MeTa that's making me cranky, just the cumulative unproductive spoiler policy pontificating.

Also, the people in FanFare aren't worried about Star Wars or Citizen Kane spoilers, they are talking about shows that are currently on the air, so I'm not sure why these kinds of examples keep popping up over and over.

(immlass, this comment and the one above are not directed to you or any other particular user!)

YOU GUYS I HAVE NEVER SEEN STAR WARS.

I've never seen Rocky, so please no one tells me if Rocky dies at the end!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:36 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Apollo was Rocky's father.
posted by planetesimal at 6:50 PM on May 5, 2014


please no one tells me if Rocky dies at the end!

Well since there are five, you can maybe presume he doesn't die in the first four? Maybe?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:51 PM on May 5, 2014


Could be an extended Jacob's-Ladder-type deal.
posted by stebulus at 7:00 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don't ruin that movie too!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:00 PM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


At the end of the first one Rocky the Boxing Man is punched so hard he splits into four or five separate boxing men and the rest of the movies deal with the implications of this schism, both for Rocky himself and for his status as a symbol of American exceptionalism.
posted by nobody at 7:03 PM on May 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


the rest of the movies

Films. What are we? Animals?
posted by ODiV at 7:12 PM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Room 641-A: "Also, the people in FanFare aren't worried about Star Wars or Citizen Kane spoilers, they are talking about shows that are currently on the air, so I'm not sure why these kinds of examples keep popping up over and over."

Because they're old movies, sorry, fillllummms, so we can use them more safely as proxies for current media that we'd spoil needlessly if we used them as examples. Admittedly, I got sidetracked onto Kane because there's also conversation about the statute of limitations on a spoiler and because I think a lot of people forget that Peanuts, of all things, is one of the major cultural sources for the notion and discussion of spoilers.
posted by gingerest at 7:19 PM on May 5, 2014


Well since there are five, you can maybe presume he doesn't die in the first four? Maybe?

I was joking about that part!! But now I kind of love the idea of someone being so dedicated to not being spoiled that they wouldn't know there were sequels.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:19 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


You can buy the special Rocky box set and it comes with 10 disks and you don't know how many are blank.
posted by nobody at 7:21 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure why these kinds of examples keep popping up over and over.

Non-sarcastic answer to this question: because there are actual examples of people complaining about being "spoiled", and I use the term very loosely here, for decades-old media. I mentioned one in the other thread, where I got fussed at offline for spoiling a plot point in a long SF series that's also clearly spoiled if you've looked at the covers of the books, which came out in the 80s.

Someone, and I don't remember who, set forth in the FanFare thread in all seriousness that if the show was still on the air, it was unfair to spoil any details. I think this was in response to a mention of a plot detail from an early season of Mad Men. Also I remember a comment in the other thread about how it would have been rude if a particular Mefite opining about Veronica Mars (a series that's a decade old and finished) hadn't clearly issued a spoiler warning before commenting. I don't remember anybody in the recent spoiler threads suggesting (seriously) that material much older than that is a deletion-worthy spoiler. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will be along to correct me.

(Also, what gingerest says about proxies, since some people are that sensitive to anything from the last decade or so.)
posted by immlass at 7:24 PM on May 5, 2014


Rocky the Boxing Man

One of Kobo Abe's finest screenplays, imo.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:31 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


And the start to a no doubt unprintable limerick.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:40 PM on May 5, 2014


YOU GUYS I HAVE NEVER SEEN ROCKY :(
posted by lalex at 7:53 PM on May 5, 2014


So you don't know about Rocky's sled?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 PM on May 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure why these kinds of examples keep popping up over and over.

They're strawman arguments, and the constant repetition of them represents a complete refusal to engage in discussion with anything resembling honesty or good faith.

In this entire thread, absolutely no one has advocated changing the exsting MeFi policy on spoilers, but we have 200+ comments denouncing the evil phantom hordes supposedly bent on shutting down all discussion of books, movies, TV and comics on MetaFilter. Would any of you people care to or be willing to explain what you're actually concerned about?
posted by nangar at 9:02 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Let me just check another policy with the mods real quick: when you've just explained your motives in talking about something, and someone comes along immediately and says you're erecting strawmen and you're arguing in bad faith, it's still, even in MeTa, not okay to say "Eat a gonorrhea-laden dick, you obnoxious fartknocker", right?
posted by gingerest at 9:08 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not even like that, yes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:11 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'll make a note of it.
posted by gingerest at 9:13 PM on May 5, 2014


That was kinda juvenile.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:18 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


We all have moments when we're beneath what we should be.
posted by gingerest at 10:36 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's interesting that there's no discussion of the most recent GoT episode in the spoiler free-for-all thread on the blue. Especially since the episode continued/wrapped up (?) a fairly large divergence from the story as told in the books.

Does this mean when all's said and done people are okay with a consolidated thread, I wonder, even if it requires biting one's tongue on book discussion?
posted by torticat at 12:31 AM on May 6, 2014


gingerest, I didn't think your comment about Peanuts and Citizen Kane was presenting a strawman argument. I'm sorry it felt like my comment was targeting you. I should have phrased it better.
posted by nangar at 3:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well since there are five, you can maybe presume he doesn't die in the first four? Maybe?

Counterpoint: The Terminator.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:28 AM on May 6, 2014


My goodness, nangar, I was already having trouble figuring out how to apologize without admitting I'd been a total passive-aggressive jerk and (I guess, ughh) attention seeker, and now you make it worse by being very gracious in the face of my petulant crudeness. Why must you make my life such a challenge?

Fiiiiiiine. I accept your totally unnecessary apology and I'm sorry I was in a bad mood and interpreted what you said in the worst possible light. The rules (don't say "fuck off" because it's semantically empty and nearly universally unhelpful to the discussion) exist for a reason, and I was a total unpleasantly unhygienic body part to you for really no good reason. And I'm sorry, MeFi, and I'm sorry, mods, in general, and in the particular Jessamyn. I am usually better than this and will strive to continue to be.
posted by gingerest at 5:01 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I was in a pretty grouchy mood last night too, and my comment was pretty dickish, I think. I don't actually think everybody in these two spoiler policy threads has been participating in bad faith, but I certainly made it sound that way.
posted by nangar at 5:43 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd also like to apologize. It'd be awkward if I'm the only one who hasn't apologized. Didn't mean to make this weird, you guys. Sorry about that.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 5:47 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


goodnews, now I'm really confused. This is your first comment in the thread.
posted by nangar at 5:52 AM on May 6, 2014


Ack! I was just joking around, thought I'd join the mea-culpafest. Totally saw the opportunity for confusion but posted nonetheless. I am not a clever man.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:00 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean I'M SORRY
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:01 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


me[t]a-culpafest.
posted by nobody at 6:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


OK. You got me!
posted by nangar at 6:34 AM on May 6, 2014


I apologize for nothing I said in this thread prior to this comment.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:53 AM on May 6, 2014


gingerest: "Because they're old movies, sorry, fillllummms, so we can use them more safely as proxies for current media that we'd spoil needlessly if we used them as examples."

nangar: "They're strawman arguments, and the constant repetition of them represents a complete refusal to engage in discussion with anything resembling honesty or good faith.

I'm trying to discuss in good faith, and honestly! I used Harry Potter and Citizen Kane because they were examples of what I meant but ones which are so well-known/old that nobody was likely to be spoiled by them at this date. I suppose I could use the Hunger Games as a book/movie example, but not all the movies are out and, despite the fact that I'm on the "relax about spoilers!" side, I don't want to wreck anyone's day!

I'm being as good-faith as I possibly can be in a discussion about spoilers of current media, by using examples from media that is out of the statute of spoiler limitations, since (to me, anyway) it's the sort of discussion that requires specific examples to think about how things work out in real life, but I don't want to use specific examples from current spoiler disputes because that would mean people trying to avoid those spoilers couldn't engage in the conversation! And that seems very unfair.

I think the other reason many people are participating is that this is one of those situations where people who feel one way (dislike spoilers) are more likely to get angry about the topic and start a discussion, while people who feel the other way (don't mind spoilers) have little to complain about, so the concern of don't-mind-ers is that their (our) views won't get represented in the community discussion about standards. Most of us who care enough about media to have opinions on spoilers probably participate in or read other, more media-focused communities that have more specific spoiler policies, and therefore we probably have opinions on how spoiler policies affect discussion and community. I think that's a perfectly good-faith discussion to have as FanFare is in beta and as we think about FanFare and the Blue and the rules.

As I said way up above, I trust our mods (and our community) to make good decisions about this sort of thing, and I don't generally get upset by mod decisions I don't agree with (nobody bats 1.000!), but I don't think it's bad faith to express my views and preferences on it (in a not-shouty, not-fighty way), as I'm part of the community. If the community comes to a different decision, that's fine, not everything has to be perfect for me, but I do like the freewheeling media discussions here. I really do go out of my way to avoid spoiling people in everyday life and general discussions, and I certainly wouldn't spoil someone in a no-spoiler zone like FanFare, but I also do like being able to discuss media more holistically without worrying about that. And besides that, people's memories are tricky and there will be accidental spoiling despite everyone's best intentions so it's just as well to have a discussion about it in advance.

For the Citizen Kane one, a colleague and I who frequently discuss movies were waiting for a meeting to start and watching out the window some kids playing with sleds on a little four-foot berm thing and this NATURALLY led to a discussion of Rosebud and one of our other colleagues who was casually participating in our conversation FLIPPED. OUT. And yes, I do bring it up because it is HILARIOUSLY BIZARRE, not your everyday sort of thing, but people have FEEEEEEELINGS about spoilers and some of them have very strange feelings indeed!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:10 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Would any of you people care to or be willing to explain what you're actually concerned about?

Hi Nangar,

Maybe you're talking to me. I also can't tell if I'm one of "you people" or not. I'm gonna try to answer your question fairly, and I'll even assume you've read all of the comments above. I thought my comment here laid out my concerns succinctly.
The very existence of FanFare and the policies that it has that are different from the Blue may potentially change the Blue, by making the Mods more sensitive to the concerns of the spoiler-averse. I hope we can have a strict anti-spoiler policy for a sub site and avoid having it inadvertently affect the Blue. This post is about a delete that brings that into question.
Because the knife-edge of time hadn't moved forward that far when I wrote that, I didn't address the specifics of why the particular examples used were chosen, but the reasoning of Eyebrows McGee et. al. seems to be correct. We could talk about ERB's John Carter books and the recent movie, if we wanted a parallel example that wouldn't cause further damage to people looking to preserve surprise in their GoT watching.

As to what I am really concerned about, I'll try to restate it differently and see if that helps you. This is just me, so don't assume any other members of "us people" has the same concerns.

The consensus for how to deal with spoilers in FanFare seems to be landing on a policy for spoilers that makes me unwilling to participate in FanFare, which is fine. I'll silently vote with my not-showing-up. I want to participate in MetaFilter, so when I see a thread discussing what seems to be a leakage of the sub-site policy to the main site, I am concerned that the same spoiler policy will become the de facto policy, to the detriment of my participation in MetaFilter.

There seem to be different levels of concern amongst "us people" about the difference between the site policy and the mods choice, but the latter part of the thread seems to have moved beyond that into general discussion of what is a spoiler, why it is bad, etc.

I'm actually breaking my rule about "once you say your piece, don't be repetitive, it's boring", but you asked for explanations.
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:28 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that there's no discussion of the most recent GoT episode in the spoiler free-for-all thread on the blue. Especially since the episode continued/wrapped up (?) a fairly large divergence from the story as told in the books.

I just went to my usual non-mefi places for spoilerrific discussion of the episode Sunday.

It looks like Orange is the New Black S2 drops in July, so that might be the first Netflix show test for fanfare? Will it be an all episode bingewatch thread, or are there people who just watch one at a time?
posted by lovecrafty at 12:51 PM on May 6, 2014


I think however we decide to try posting the threads for OitNB (all at once, or paced somehow), we'll have individual threads for each episode. That was folks can read and discuss both at their own pace while abiding by the general "no later than this episode" line in the sand. I'm interested to see how that works out in practice, if we actually end up with a bunch of reasonably active threads or if folks mostly binge it all and then jump in at the end.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2014


Depending on how the season pans out I wouldn't be surprised if people kind of came together in a thread for an episode that feels like a natural break point or one with a fairly major "happening".

It's interesting that there's no discussion of the most recent GoT episode in the spoiler free-for-all thread on the blue.

I don't watch the show, but if I did I don't think I'd be rushing to talk about it on the blue right now.
posted by ODiV at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2014


or one with a fairly major "happening".

Oh wow... Just thought of something.

S02E01 - 3 comments
S02E02 - 10 comments
S02E03 - 2 comments
S02E04 - 305 comments
S02E05 - 6 comments
posted by ODiV at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2014


I'm trying to discuss in good faith, and honestly! I used Harry Potter and Citizen Kane because they were examples of what I meant but ones which are so well-known/old that nobody was likely to be spoiled by them at this date.

Whatever, Eyebrows, you totally spoiled me for the plot of Eight Below. Sniff.

Sure, I was never going to see it, and it was in the context of me asking for warnings about whether the dog dies in some other book [it doesn't, thank you for letting me know], and I truly don't care, but hey, spoiler warning!
posted by jeather at 2:39 PM on May 6, 2014


gingerest: "Because they're old movies, sorry, fillllummms, so we can use them more safely as proxies for current media that we'd spoil needlessly if we used them as examples."

nangar: "They're strawman arguments, and the constant repetition of them represents a complete refusal to engage in discussion with anything resembling honesty or good faith.


Yes, gingerest, I should have been more specific. I was referring to the context that nangar is talking about.

I'm a day or two late but wanted to clarify that.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:41 PM on May 7, 2014


I think I first came to appreciate the virtues of spoilers when the Star Wars films came out. Reading the threads on the first film saved me from having to care about the plot, characterisation, acting and direction, leaving me to focus on the special effects. The experience of seeing the film was greatly enhanced by pre-knowledge that the film was an epic clusterfuck, that other people recognised this and were understandably annoyed. It saved me the emotional distress that may have resulted from seeing the film with high expectations (or any expectations other than *look at the shiny*).

People who want to see contemporary films, read contemporary books or see contemporary television series without any prior knowledge of plot developments have to be careful to avoid discussions thereof (and also social media). It is not the job of people who have seen them to censor themselves from discussing what they have seen or read.

If you don't want to know what happens in the television serialisation of a series of novels that came out years ago then the onus is on you to avoid discussions on that subject.
posted by asok at 8:05 AM on May 8, 2014


It is not the job of people who have seen them to censor themselves from discussing what they have seen or read.

I realize you are just speaking personally for yourself but I feel obliged to mention that actually, on FanFare, it is your job to be mindful of spoilers.

I am someone who personally doesn't care about spoilers, but I am, I believe, in a minority in the TV/movie-watching population here. We had to create a policy that we felt would work for most people and, more importantly, be completely understandable. One of the reasons we waited so long to launch FanFare is that we knew this would be a sticking point that would be, at some level, an eternal open argument with this crowd of nerdy nitpickers. We decided to press along anyhow.

So yes generally unless you're setting out to be an asshole ruiner-of-things we expect people to be able to discuss things on MeFi without people worrying too much about spoilers (but we ask for basic courtesy, put them under the fold in MeFi and AskMe, try to be obvious about whether this actually is a discussion of $THING). At the same time FanFare serves a different purpose and has different rules and we'd like it if people could be mindful of that.

It's a pretty tricky thing to try to discuss manners-not-reducible-to-math with this population. I appreciate everyone's attempts to try.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:14 AM on May 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


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