Please don't post spoilers. November 5, 2005 6:56 AM   Subscribe

PLEASE don't be a spoilsport! I can't understand why people gleefully post spoilers. In the thread linked below (read it if you want some movies spoiled), one poster proclaimed "15 years is well past the spoiler expiration date." Maybe this is a joke (i.e. Milk Carton expiration date), but if not I totally disagree. A young person might see an old movie for the first time. He deserves to see it unspoiled. [link] [more inside]
posted by grumblebee to Etiquette/Policy at 6:56 AM (66 comments total)

I know some people don't think stories are all that important, (and I know some people don't think plot twists are the most important part of a story) but please show some respect for those of us who do.

I still feel a thrill when I think of the my first viewing of certain films -- films with big surprises in them. One can only have that experience once per film.

Someone in the thread decided to spoil THREE movies in one post. Believe it or not, there ARE people who have never seen "Planet of the Apes."
posted by grumblebee at 6:58 AM on November 5, 2005

Seems pretty clear to me that if you don't want the ending of "Crying Game" spoiled for you, then you shouldn't read that thread.
posted by soiled cowboy at 7:01 AM on November 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

What if you've already seen "The Crying Game," but you haven't seen some of the other movies spoiled in the thread?

What if you don't want to read the thread, but you innocently read the FPP -- which contains a spoiler?
posted by grumblebee at 7:07 AM on November 5, 2005

Usually I'd totally agree. But the thread is ABOUT the reaction of the audience. Seems clear to me that a reaction has to do with the content of the film. If you don't want to know the content, seems difficult to talk about the reaction. Thus, don't click on a thread about a film you've never seen and don't want spoiled.

As for the other films mentioned, sure. Those are random spoilers that have nothing to do with the original topic.

On preview: the FPP says "What was the audience's reaction to The Crying Game?" You had to open the thread to see the spoiler. Seems clear to me that the thread would have discussion on a) the content b) the audience's reaction to some or all of it which would include some sort of thing which warranted reaction (we don't talk often about the audiences reaction to Three Weddings and a Funeral...) and c) expectations of the film and possibly other reactions as well.

But sure. Take out the other spoilers. The OP is fine, I say.
posted by fionab at 7:13 AM on November 5, 2005

Add a ' in there. Send coffee now.
posted by fionab at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2005

what if movies were trifling distractions in general, let alone the cash cow of rapacious present day robber barons?
posted by quonsar at 7:15 AM on November 5, 2005

q: I agree. Capote is a prime example. I mean, that ending where he then went to,...oh. Right. Sorry.
posted by fionab at 7:19 AM on November 5, 2005

"Ophelia goes nuts and kills herself." Is that a spoiler? Is it something one has to be careful about bringing up in discussions of literature, because people may not have seen or read Hamlet yet? Why or why not?

If a movie is really good, to my mind, it's bigger than "the spoiler". The Crying Game is a good example: I was actually glad I knew the big secret going in, because there's a lot more of interest in there, but at the time that the film came out it was all anyone talked about. Psycho is another example: I knew the basic facts of Norman Bates' life years before I actually got around to seeing the movie, and it wasn't because I actively sought out spoilers. The story and allusions to it are part of our culture.

Someone in the thread decided to spoil THREE movies in one post.

One of those was actually a joke. The other two have already been relentlessly pre-spoiled by popular culture. If someone actively avoids pop culture and doesn't know the spoilers that's still not a worry, because movies like Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green are pop culture: someone who makes a point of avoiding pop probably wouldn't watch them.

That said, the comment that contains those spoilers doesn't belong on AskMe because it's noise that has nothing to do with the discussion, as is the comment that prompted it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:27 AM on November 5, 2005

Oh, jeez. I never thought I'd see the old "think about the children!" argument used here. Spoilers definitely have an expiration date, and I think fifteen years is more than plenty.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:45 AM on November 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

I just don't understand how the ending of Apes was supposed to be a surprise. I mean, you'd think it would occur to you while watching it that THE PLANET HAD APES AND HUMANS ON IT.
posted by cortex at 7:48 AM on November 5, 2005

I think at this point in the history of the web, if you are going to read a thread about a movie, ANY movie, you should be well aware that there will be spoilers.
posted by spicynuts at 8:05 AM on November 5, 2005

Hear, hear, well spoken grumblebee. I think the "SPIOILERS" tag is a nice courtesy. Required? No. But appreciated.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:08 AM on November 5, 2005

You're seriously angry about The Crying Game being spoiled? If you haven't bothered to see the movie in the last 15 years then that's your own fault. I agree with the person that asked the question, the spoiler in The Crying Game is general pop culture knowledge. And frankly, when the camera pans down during the infamous scene from The Crying Game, it's still a shock even if you know it's coming.
posted by my sock puppet account at 8:19 AM on November 5, 2005

Sock Puppet, He's angry that other movies were being spoiled in the thread. If you read his first couple comments you might get that.

I'd agree, that's annoying.
posted by chunking express at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2005

Oh, jeez. I never thought I'd see the old "think about the children!" argument used here. Spoilers definitely have an expiration date, and I think fifteen years is more than plenty.

Yes. I AM thinking of the children. And if you think that's silly, I don't know what to say. I was born in 1965, years after "Citizen Kane" was made. I'm SO glad no one spoiled it for me, when I first saw it (early 80s). It's not my fault that I was born in the 60s. I would think one would naturally hope younger people get the same pleasure that you got when you first saw a movie.

I am also thinking of myself. Life is short, and I can't possibly see every movie that comes out WHEN it comes out. It's my FAULT if I haven't seen "The Crying Game"? Come on. Have you seen every movie that came out in the last 20 years? Thanks to services like Netflix, one can see movies older movies whenever one wants. I just saw "The Usual Suspects" for the first time. I'm so glad no one spoiled it for me!

To those of you who say that surprise endings aren't that important, you're right. They're not that important to YOU. Yes, I will watch "The Usual Suspects" again and enjoy it -- I may even enjoy it more. The important thing is, I will enjoy it DIFFERENTLY. I still want that first time experience. And I only get one shot at it. Look, if you don't like cabbage, you don't like cabbage -- and you'll probably never really understand people who do like it. But do them a favor and don't piss in their cabbage stew.

And yes there WAS a spoiler in the FPP. I'm not going to compound the problem by mentioning it here, but if one reads JUST the FPP and sees the movie, it will be pretty easy to deduce (without much thought) what is going to happen. Think about it.

This reminds of a time I was reading a novel. A friend of mine had already read it, and he knew how much I valued surprised. So he decided to tease me. He kept saying, "I'm going to tell you then ending! I'm going to tell you then ending!" I begged him not to.

So he decided to be cute and tell me a supposedly unimportant detail about the ending. He said, "at the end of book, Charles is flying a helicopter." After which I wouldn't talk to him for a week. I was SO into the suspense of the book and he ruined it for me. And he was totally baffled. He said, "Oh come ON. That's a totally insignificant detail." (It was clear from the beginning that Charles was a helicopter pilot.)

But it WASN'T insignificant, because a big point of suspense was whether or not Charlie would survive until the end. If he was piloting a helicopter at the end, he was clearly alive at the end. Thanks, buddy!

You may think my reaction was over-the-top, but it wasn't just the spoiler. He KNEW how much I hated having stories ruined, and he did it anyway -- just as a joke. As my friend, he should have shown more respect.

It's SO easy to write SPOILER. Why not just accept that other people aren't wired the same way you are and do it just to be nice?
posted by grumblebee at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

"But do them a favor and don't piss in their cabbage stew."

May I humbly suggest not holding your cabbages near the pissoir? You may find ignorance a precious part of being entertained, and for that I don't blame you as it's reasonable enough, but it's unreasonable to expect the entire world to take measures to keep secrets from you about popular culture for fifteen years just to heighten your enjoyment of a film.
posted by majick at 8:55 AM on November 5, 2005

Spoiler Alert: This thread ends badly.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:57 AM on November 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Or, knowing how much you hate reading spoilers, why not just accept that other people aren't wired the same way as you are and completely avoid reading any discussions about movies you haven't seen?
posted by MegoSteve at 8:58 AM on November 5, 2005

I agree with grumblebee. Cut out the coolposing and write SPOILER.
posted by Rumple at 8:59 AM on November 5, 2005

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:10 AM on November 5, 2005

I think it is appropriate to add here that Soylent Green™ is people.
posted by birdherder at 9:17 AM on November 5, 2005

Whatever you do, grumblebee, do NOT click this link.
posted by mischief at 9:55 AM on November 5, 2005

I'd say there's a spectrum of how much people care about spoilers. There are the people who don't care at all, and will gleefully tell you how a movie ends based on the script they read before it even came out. Those people are a minority. In the middle are people who believe various things like 'you can spoil it after the movie has left the theaters' or 'once it's been in theatres a few months its fine' or 'any movie that's already been shown on broadcast TV is fine'. Those people, who have varying ideas in the 'once the majority of people who are likely to see it have seen it go ahead and spoil it' are the majority. On the other end of the spectrum are people who apparently believe that nothing should be spoiled ever because someone in the future might want to watch the movie unspoiled. Those people are a minority, as well.

The first group needs to take it upon themselves to ensure that the only people they spoil movies for are other spoiler fans like themselves.

The last group needs to take it upon themselves to ensure that they're not exposed to spoilers. Millions of people shouldn't be prevented from discussing 10, 15, 20, 50 year old movies openly because a few thousand who haven't seen them yet might want to watch them unspoiled. If you're that cranky about spoilers, just realize that all conversations that are about movie spoilers, even if they're conversations specific to the spoilers for one movie, have the tendancy to spread out to encompass other movie spoilers. Just like spoiler fans should avoid discussing unreleased films in non-spoiler communities, spoiler foes should avoid reading spoiler threads.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:07 AM on November 5, 2005


There are spoilers in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle?

I thought it was just a great, fun flick.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:17 AM on November 5, 2005

posted by riffola at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2005

Another excuse for Matt to implement a new (spoiler) feature, like in vBulletin.
posted by Gyan at 10:21 AM on November 5, 2005

This top is much wider than "spoiler threads." It's about references. To invoke a cliched example: Everyone understands the meaning of "raising the shields," and it's a valuable metaphor in threads that have nothing to do with Star Trek.

Citizen Kane was spoiled for me long before I saw it. So I sympathize, and I sort of agree. But Citizen Kane is an historic film. Is it reasonable of me, 50 years later, to expect that people will avoid references to "Rosebud"? Some films constitute significant contributions to society, or at least to contemporary pop culture. Isn't the interest of recognizing and utilizing their significance greater than the interest of preserving a veil for future viewers?

The Crying Game was a social event in its time. Everyone was talking about it, and it became a pop culture reference. The phrase "crying game" today is almost a euphemism -- as the poster remarks, recognizable to people who have never watched the movie. I agree in principle that spoilers are bad and that people need to lay off; but I think there are reasonable exceptions to that, and this is one.
posted by cribcage at 10:27 AM on November 5, 2005

I don't think we should talk about the results of any election either. At some point in the future I may decide to watch election-night coverage and I wouldn't want to ruin it by knowing who wins. I'm also against sports scores, the stock market, obituaries in the newspaper, and grocery store ads which indicate the actual price of things.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:27 AM on November 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

The boat sinks.
posted by keswick at 10:32 AM on November 5, 2005

spinifex23 writes "There are spoilers in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle?"

That's the one that made me laugh the most. See also: Dude, Where's My Car?
posted by fionab at 10:43 AM on November 5, 2005

rosebud is his father.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:44 AM on November 5, 2005

Look, all I hope for is that everyone makes an attempt to respect each other -- without putting themselves to huge amounts of trouble.

I completely agree that someone like me should take responsibility for avoiding spoilers. And I do. Over the years, I have learned how to skim a review to get the gist of whether the critic liked the film or hated it without learning any of the details that he'll inevitably give away. (Most reviewers seem to think if THEY think a movie is bad, it's fair game to give the whole thing away.)

But is it really so tough to write SPOILER? I may be extreme, but I'm not all that rare. There are plenty of people like me. Check out a site like Everything starts with SPOILER.

I'm an atheist and I think I have every right to be one, and I'm not ashamed of it. But I also try to be polite. If I'm in a room full of Christians and atheists, and I have a desire to talk about the Godless universe, I say, "I'm about to talk about my atheist. If that upsets you, you might want to leave." That's all. I don't shut myself up. I just have a moment of courtesy for those around me.

No, I don't expect people to stop talking about the cultural impact of "Citizen Kane." I just expect people to be polite within reason. Adding SPOILER takes two second.

I also realize that it's possible to goof. Even though I'm Mr. Don't-Ever-Spoil-A-Movie, I once posted a HUGE giveaway to the front page. I wasn't thinking. I apologized, and I still feel horrible about it. I hope Matt deleted the post.

There are the people who ... will gleefully tell you how a movie ends...

This is what I absolutely don't get. I get the goofs, I get the "we need to be allowed to have discussions," but I am floored by taking pleasure in ruining something for someone when you know that cause them pain. Several of you have don't that IN THIS THREAD. Why? Is it just fun to make the baby cry?
posted by grumblebee at 10:57 AM on November 5, 2005

Lord! Sorry for all the typos!
posted by grumblebee at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2005

Why stop at films? Just think of the suspense young people will feel wondering how the Second World War turned out.
posted by Joeforking at 11:00 AM on November 5, 2005

in the end you die.
posted by quonsar at 11:10 AM on November 5, 2005

Wait a minute -- so Bruce Willis was dead the entire time??
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:13 AM on November 5, 2005

grumblebee: No, I don't expect people to stop talking about the cultural impact of "Citizen Kane." I just expect people to be polite within reason. Adding SPOILER takes two second.

What constitutes a spoiler? What's "within reason"? For the most delicate flowers among us, the concept of "spoilers" apparently includes basic plot points. According to some folks we're supposed to keep quiet about simple casting details of movies that came out when JFK was still alive. WARNING: THERE ARE TEN MILLION SPOILERS IN THAT THREAD, COVERING EVERY MOVIE EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.

jacquilynne: Millions of people shouldn't be prevented from discussing 10, 15, 20, 50 year old movies openly because a few thousand who haven't seen them yet might want to watch them unspoiled.

Exactly. That's within reason. You don't want to hear details about a (famous! infamous, even!) twist at the end of a movie you haven't seen? Then don't read the thread discussing the famous twist at the end of a movie you haven't seen. And no, the spoiler is NOT given away on the FPP -- you had to go look for it. Morever, quit posturing with the "shocked -- shocked!" act that a thread about one famous spoiler turned into a discussion of many different spoilers.

If you really want to keep every viewing (or reading) experience of yours as pure as possible, I sincerely suggest you avoid the majority of movie and book threads that deal with the topic beyond asking for lists of suggestions. Because guess what? Most of us are actually going to discuss substantive issues in those threads without tagging every other sentence with SPOILER. And not because we're being malicious or careless, but beacuse our mental/verbal actions are being directed towards the discussion with the actual people who have seen the movie and are participating in the discssion, and NOT towards mentally compartmentalizing (and flagging) every single goddamn plot point that might be upsetting to that theoretical "someone" reading the thread who hasn't seen the movie.

In other words, discussing movies in a large online community is a vastly different type of exchange than a one-on-one conversation, in which each party of course owes each other the courtesy to make sure not to give away spoilers, endings, etc. I was talking the other day with my bf about movies that had made us cry over the years, and I mentioned the end of Chaplin's City Lights -- which I immediately followed up with "have you seen it?" He said "no," so I said no more (other than to say what a great film it is). But in a general online discussion on a about silent films, for example, you bet your life I feel perfectly free to discuss WARNING! WARNING! AVERT YOUR EYES IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN CHAPLIN'S CITY LIGHTS! the part where the blind girl finally sees the Little Tramp.
posted by scody at 11:15 AM on November 5, 2005

I sympathise with your position, grumblebee. I loathe spoilers so much that I hardly ever look at book or film reviews at all (until afterwards), or even book jacket blurbs, because they always give away way too much for me. But I've noticed that it seems that many (most?) people almost want a synopsis of the entire plot before they will invest in reading a book or seeing a film at all, so I realize that I'm in the wee minority, and that most people really cannot understand this preference.

So I support your campaign, but I'm not optimistic. And here is where I stop reading the thread, because you know it's going to happen.

On preview: Robot Johnny! (But I've already seen that one.)
posted by taz at 11:20 AM on November 5, 2005

I'm actually with you, taz, on avoiding film reviews till after I've seen the movie. I'll scan them just enough to get the idea if the film is getting generally positive or negative reviews from critics I tend to respect, but I'll almost never read a full review till after I've seen it.
posted by scody at 11:31 AM on November 5, 2005

I'm bowing out, too. I brought up something that I was passionate about. I didn't personally attack anyone. I just asked people to stop doing stuff I found hurtful. I never accused anyone of "posturing" or whatever. And, believe it or not, I was willing to be persuaded that I was being unreasonable. (And I HAVE somewhat backed down from my original stance).

But when people start attacking me in a personal way, it's not worth continuing. I won't post anything like this again. I will accept the fact that there will be spoilers on MeFi and if I can't bare it, I will leave.

Thank you to those who were able to discuss this without personal attacks.
posted by grumblebee at 11:37 AM on November 5, 2005

be careful of that door.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:43 AM on November 5, 2005

wow, what a joke.
posted by puke & cry at 11:48 AM on November 5, 2005

I am amazed that anyone would think Citizen Kane is spoiled if you know what "rosebud" means. There is so much in and about that movie, the rosebud bit is practically inconsequential.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2005

Um...I understand that grumblebee is bowing out because of the personal attacks and all, but I've read this whole thing twice and have yet to find anything that I would find a personal attack.

Am I clueless or is grumblebee exceptionally thin-skinned? (And please don't take that as a personal attack--I'm just wondering where the umbrage came from.)
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:56 AM on November 5, 2005

Grumblebee, I apologize to you for the "posturing" crack -- it was snotty and uncalled for. My point, though, remains: I don't believe you can honestly be surprised that a thread about one famous twist morphed into a discussion about many famous twists. It's the nature of that sort of discussion, it's happened before, and you've seen it happen before just as I have.

I am frustrated, though, by the apparent supposition that those of us who fail to anticipate every theoretical spoiler are somehow being careless or mean. As I tried to explain in my 5th paragraph, I feel really strongly that an online discussion with an unknown number of participants and readers cannot possibly be held to the same standard as an in-person conversation between a few people. They are different types of communication. My brain -- and I think many people's brains here -- do not seem to be wired in such a way that we can possibly hypothesize, analyze, and compartmentalize ahead of time all the possible permutations of what may constitute a spoiler to people who may or may not be reading the thread.

As for "think of the children" -- well, look: I was born several years after you, and I loved watching Citizen Kane for the first time too (though I honesty don't recall if I knew ahead of time what Rosebud was or not) But it's unreasonable to have expected an entire culture to have remained silent about it all these years! It just is. Kane and Casablanca and the Godfather and Star Wars and countless other movies have entered the cultural lexicon decades ago. Are we supposed to keep quiet about how Hamlet turns out as well? Seriously, where does it end?

The culture at large -- and, like it or not, discussions on a website with thousands of members constitute part of the culture at large -- does not have the obligation (nor the means) to accomodate your wish to remain unspoiled for every single movie you have yet to see. For example, I'm watching a riveting documentary series about a murder trial called "The Staircase" right now. It was recommended to me by two coworkers, who have taken pains not to mention the ending to me, which I appreciate. However, it'smy responsibility to avoid getting spoiled by reading the reviews or discussions at IMDB, Amazon, Netflix, etc. about it, because I operate under the assumption that total strangers on the 'net do not have the same obligations of courtesy to me as my coworkers do.
posted by scody at 11:59 AM on November 5, 2005

A couple of summary points:

1) As a general practice, it's good to label "SPOLERS AHEAD"
2) There is much less to discuss when you haven't seen the movie yet
3) If you don't want it spoiled, what do you want? Why enter an online discussion about a movie you really don't want to be spoiled for you?
4) Following from 2 & 3, if you are really that concerned, confine yourself to clearly labelled "NO SPOILERS" areas.
5) But please don't forget #1, people
posted by scarabic at 12:14 PM on November 5, 2005

You want a spoiler? Here's a spoiler:

You're going to die alone.

this is a good callout.... FOR ME TO POOP ON.
posted by keswick at 12:21 PM on November 5, 2005

Another excuse for Matt to implement a new (spoiler) feature, like in vBulletin.
If it really concerns you, the kottke-esque thing works nicely. Wrap spoilers in these: <span style="background-color:#fff;"> </span>. But links within the spoiler-guard need to be done like so: <a href="" style="color:#fff;border-bottom:#000 solid;"></a>. Or #1 could just make it a CSS class, and it wouldn't be quite so much of a bother.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 1:18 PM on November 5, 2005

OH. Or not. Apparently, the comment-field will strip it out.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 1:19 PM on November 5, 2005

Hey, keswick just spoiled our last metalk thread about spoilers for me!
posted by amarynth at 1:21 PM on November 5, 2005

I sympathize with grumblebee, and I think scarabic provides a fair summary of useful guidelines. I don't understand why some people take pleasure in spoiling other people's experiences, but they do, and we just have to avoid them as best we can.

But I'm mainly jumping in to agree with Kirth Gerson: how can you talk about Citizen Kane being "spoiled"? That's like saying Hamlet is ruined if you know [SPOILER ALERT! DON'T READ AHEAD!] he dies in the end. The identity of "Rosebud" is what Hitchcock called a McGuffin: it's a gimmick to thread the plot on and keep people watching, but it's of no real importance to the movie. The better the work of art, the less the ending matters.
posted by languagehat at 1:23 PM on November 5, 2005

grumblebee ends up leaving metafilter.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:24 PM on November 5, 2005

The only spoiler warning that work well are the kind that vBulletin uses, where you mouse-over to see. Saying SPOILERS AHEAD, and then leaving twenty blank lines like in the nenwgroups just screws everything up. And if you don't leave the space, someone can still easily see the spoiler.

As Count Ziggurat says, you can do the mouse-over spoiler style yourself, but that's not a realistic expectation.
posted by smackfu at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2005

Where the spoiler date-line lies will never be agreed upon. I think we can we agree on that.

Please, for the sake of peace, start a spoiler thread with "SPOILER:" like the new "NEWSFILTER:" thingie.


SPOILER: Questions about Citizen Kane. [more inside]

Seems like a simple enough compromise to me.
posted by deborah at 2:42 PM on November 5, 2005

Sure the experience of watching "The Crying Game" might be better if you didn't know the twist. But in the end, it is only a movie. If someone occasionally unintentionally spoils a movie for you, oh well -- there are plenty of other movies that will surprise you.

As far as I'm concerned, once a film's initial theatrical run has concluded, the statute of limitations has expired. You had your chance to go get surprised while it was in the theater. If you didn't do that, you missed it.

As I've said before, you can't expect people to stay out of the hors d'oeuvres just because you're late to the party. It's a little self-centered to promote yourself to guest-of-honor status when the party wasn't thrown for you in the first place.
posted by kindall at 4:53 PM on November 5, 2005

posted by moift at 5:36 PM on November 5, 2005

SPOILER: Questions about cave painting of man chasing antelope. [more inside]

I agree with the "how far back do we go?" sentiment. I say, if it's not been in theaters in the last year, stick your head in the sand, cover your ears saying "lalala" or whatever else you need to do to shut yourself off from contemporary society. We live in a culture of media references.

I'd hate to watch The Simpsons that had every possible spoilery thing removed. It wouid be a blipvert. (oh jeez, there I go and spoiled Max Headroom)
posted by todbot at 6:14 PM on November 5, 2005

I'd just like to point out that I had Citizen Kane spoiled for me in #meta, when the last MeFi spoiler debate was going on.

And now, because of this MeTa thread, The Crying Game has been spoiled too.

I hate this web site.
posted by armoured-ant at 6:20 PM on November 5, 2005

armoured-ant flips out. Oddly, it's sgt. serenity that gets banned in the ensuing fracas.
posted by yhbc at 10:38 PM on November 5, 2005

there were snakes on the plane.
posted by quonsar at 11:06 PM on November 5, 2005

As the poster of the question and as a young person who hasn't seen many old movies and is therefore one of the cinematic newbies grumblebee is trying to protect, I must say: I'm sorry, but my generation has grown up with these spoilers, and heck, it's probably one of the main reasons we go to the classics aisle of the local video store and rent these movies in the first place. Otherwise, we'd only really be exposed to them if we decided to take a college film class.

Heck, I didn't know the "Soylent Green is people" line was from a movie until my late teens, but that certainly didn't stop my younger self from quoting it. And I distinctly remember picking up Citizen Kane in Blockbuster and discussing with a friend if we should rent it, as we only knew about the "Rosebud" thing.

So yes, in theory I agree adding a spoiler tag was probably the safest thing to do, but once it's a part of pop culture, then you have to accept the fact that it's moved into the realm of shared knowledge and viewed in different terms, especially by younger generations.
posted by lychee at 11:30 PM on November 5, 2005

I understand that some people really don't want movies (or whatever) spoiled. But all the front page said was "What was the audience's reaction to the movie The Crying Game?" So why read even read the discussion if you don't want to be exposed to spoilers? It seems a given that people are going to discuss elements of the plot with a question like that. That's completely inevitable.

The polite thing for posters to do is keep spoilers off the main page which lychee did. The appropriate thing for readers is to avoid the discussions of movies or books where plot details may be discussed, if one wishes not to read potential spoilers.
posted by 6550 at 11:44 PM on November 5, 2005

I think you just have to accept the fact that a thread about a movie with a twist is going to reference other spoilers. For fuck's sake, suck it up. Have you ever watched the Simpsons? Every episode 'spoils' something, hell. Parody is rife with spoiler action.

Knowing something about a movie before going in does NOTHING to ruin a movie. In many cases, it makes it better. (see the comment in the thread about the repeat viewers of The Crying Game) Why would they go back? They know the huge secret now. Ohhh, right. To see how the movie works around its secret.

Like The Sixth Sense. What about the characters do you notice now that you know how it ends?

It was all a dream. The plane from Australia crashed. There was no island.
posted by graventy at 6:18 PM on November 6, 2005

I agree 100% with Grumblebee, and I'm surprised that his simply, polite request has been met with so much resistance. All we're asking is that you write the words "SPOILERS FOR MOVIE X", people. It's not that big a deal.

It seems to me there is a broad spectrum regarding how to handle spoilers.

At one end of the spectrum, nobody is permitted to discuss any plot details of anything, ever. Folks who are fanatical about spoilers are happy; everybody else is pissed off.

At the other end of the spectrum, nobody makes any effort to warn about spoilers; endings are discussed with wild abandon in entirely unrelated threads. People who don't care the slightest bit about spoilers are happy; everybody else is pissed off.

In the middle of the spectrum, people discuss spoilers, but take three-tenths of a second to warn about them in advance. Everybody is happy.

Can anybody make a good rational argument against such a happy medium?

"Film X has been out for Y years" isn't a very convincing argument, since (a) the wide variety of ages and experience levels on MeFi makes it likely that every surprise is new to somebody, and (b) once again, all we're asking you to do is write the words "SPOILERS FOR MOVIE X," people. It's just not that big a deal.
posted by yankeefog at 5:14 AM on November 7, 2005

I am also thinking of myself. Life is short, and I can't possibly see every movie that comes out WHEN it comes out. It's my FAULT if I haven't seen "The Crying Game"? Come on. Have you seen every movie that came out in the last 20 years?

No, and I accept that after a certain period of time I can no longer expect people discussing something to couch every possible giveaway in whispers and warnings. Life moves on. If you didn't find time in two decades to rent the movie how important could it be to you?

Or more on point, after all this time the number of people who are have seen it and are interested in talking about The Crying Game far exceeds the number of people like yourself who desperately want the secrets kept for them but didn't see it yet. You want to inconvenience a huge number of people for the sake of a tiny number.
posted by phearlez at 12:48 PM on November 7, 2005

The point is made that we should expect to see movies spoiled in this thread. Grumblebee's request for NO spoilers is met with several spoilers. So if avoiding spoilers is important to me I should not participate in this thread. Is MeTa's position that anyone who doesn't like spoilers should just shut up about it or we will show you some real hurt? Or is it just these pricks?

The spoilsports are missing a bet with their assumption that forgoing a surprise, or even that sense of not knowing where movie is going, costs nothing in the enjoyment of a movie. I finally saw X the other night and not knowing where the movie was going increased the experience immeasurably. It's kinda like real life that way.
posted by pointilist at 9:03 AM on November 9, 2005

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