Of course, the only real way to protect yourself is to just read all the books immediately June 14, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Game of Thrones spoiler policy: is information from books 2-4 considered a spoiler for the TV show?

In my opinion, it should be- in a thread like this one which explicitly deals with the TV show, I think it's disrespectful to people who haven't read the books for book-readers to be discussing future events. To me, it's no different from a regular spoiler. It would really suck for a person who just wanted to talk about their new favorite TV show to venture into that thread and get major future events ruined for them, especially since this series depends so heavily on big "holy shit" moments.

In a month or so, we book-readers can make our own thread for book five and keep bookchat in there.
posted by showbiz_liz to Etiquette/Policy at 4:38 PM (523 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Other web sites specifically ask that Books 2-4 information be kept out of comment threads about the TV show.

It's good manners, if nothing else.
posted by Trurl at 4:43 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Opinions are going to differ; there's certainly nothing wrong with leaving a polite comment in the thread reminding folks who might not have thought about it that book readers are a good ways ahead of first-time watchers, if someone hasn't done that already.

But the situation is complicated by the fact that a big chunk of the enthusiastic watchers of the show are people who have specifically been reading the books, in many cases for years and years. So cutting off the narrative at the knees is going to be sort of non-trivial for a lot of people, and discussion of how the HBO show's narrative is developing vs. the established books is probably part of what long-timer readers are interested in discussing.

Short version is that if folks are going to collectively decide not to mention stuff from later books in the discussion, that's great, and a minimum of gentle discussing of that point in the thread is fine, but we're not going to encourage or enforce any sort of policy along those lines so if folks don't collectively buy into that that's kind of all there is to say about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:52 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, the only real way to protect yourself is to abstain from participating in anything on The Internets related to the thing you're consuming.

It's no fun, yes right, but it's really the only way. You just can't count on other people to hold up any kind of spoiler policy.
posted by carsonb at 4:54 PM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd never even heard of Game of Thrones before, and now you've ruined it for me.
posted by Elmore at 4:59 PM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Other web sites specifically ask that Books 2-4 information be kept out of comment threads about the TV show.

That needs to be repeated for the inevitable "WHY ARE YOU READING A THREAD ABOUT GoT IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT SPOILERS???" crowd.
posted by mediareport at 5:00 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've given up on arguing Metafilters "Spoilers are mandatory and you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" policy.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's a book 2?! Dammit!!! LALALALA

Wait, what's Game of Thorns?
posted by not_on_display at 5:10 PM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've given up on arguing Metafilters "Spoilers are mandatory and you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" policy.

There are at least two major problems with that characterization of the site policy on spoilers, but I'm at least as tired as you are of the argument so I'm fine with us just sort of leaving it alone this time and sufficing to make faces at each other from across the room until the next comic book thread has us hugging again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:13 PM on June 14, 2011 [24 favorites]


...until the next comic book thread has us hugging again

WTF dude, no spoiler warning?! Or creepy video?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:15 PM on June 14, 2011


I'd be reading these books right now, but I have a dead or done policy on series books.

I also will always read the books first, so I won't touch the show until I am done with those.

It'll be like The Wire. I'll get to watch all 5 seasons in a month! With no waiting.

Sure, I may find out a thing or two ahead of time, but I doubt this will really spoil anything.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:17 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


My next project is 'Gurn Likes Thongs', about a creepy mentalist who likes small bikinis. I'm going to sell it to Hustler.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:25 PM on June 14, 2011


SPOILER Warning ↓↓↓↓↓



ʞɔns oʇ ƃuıoƃ os sı pɐəɹɥʇ sıɥʇ
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:29 PM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I see a lot of spoilers for Book 1 in that thread and very little if any spoilers for books 2-4. The spoilers I do see for 2-4 are generic and non-specific.

There are spoilers for things in book 1 which are not in the TV show but that's a different matter from spoiling books 2-4.
posted by Justinian at 5:30 PM on June 14, 2011


I'd expect that to change now this meta is up, given past experience.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on June 14, 2011


I agree with Justinian. I don't see the real spoilers beyond Season 1. I mean, yeah, I put a comment in there about Tyrion's disfigurement, but I labelled it clearly as a spoiler and .. well, it just tells you that he lives long enough to get his nose cut off. Anyway, it was relevant to the topic of the thread: are they going to minimize the disfigurement of a very popular actor on the show? Like Harry Potter's scar got minimized?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:50 PM on June 14, 2011


Is there a spoiler-free thread for people who didn't make it past Episode 1?
posted by staggernation at 5:52 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


And specifically, I don't see how hypothesizing on Jon Snow's parentage could be considered a spoiler, since the only given facts have already been covered in the show (the Wylla story). Anything else discussed in the thread on that topic is just speculation. Would that be considered a spoiler?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2011


I'd expect that to change now this meta is up, given past experience.

It seems to be inevitable. Bring up a subject, people start talking about it, no mater what it is. The creation of this MeTa practically dictates that spoilers will be in this thread. It's weird human thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:56 PM on June 14, 2011


I don't think speculation can be considered a spoiler as long as it is based on things that happened in book 1. My speculation about Jon Snow is based on stuff from book 1... but the most important piece of that information was not depicted on the TV show. So it's weird. But it's been long enough since Book 1 was published that I have a hard time remembering what was in the book-vs-show and what wasn't, so as far as I'm concerned trying to differentiate the two is impossible.
posted by Justinian at 6:00 PM on June 14, 2011


I see the "there's no such thing as spoilers" crowd have started in on the main thread.
posted by Artw at 6:02 PM on June 14, 2011


Maybe you should hit "remove from recent activity" for this thread.
posted by rtha at 6:06 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd never heard of Game of Thrones before MeFi, now me and Mrs arcticsseal are avidly reading it. I'm ahead of her which naturally leads to the usual conversation:

MrsA: Tell me what happens to X.
Me: No, I'll let you find out for yourself.
MrsA: Does he/she/it do X?
Me: No/find out for yourself.
MrsA: Does he/she/it do y?
Me: Find out for yourself.
MrsA: *Rinse/Repeat for the next 20 mins*
Me: *Breaks down, tells her*
MrsA: You're not supposed to tell me!
Me: But you asked me to.

This repeats every few chapters or so. Christmas is also fun.
posted by arcticseal at 6:08 PM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


I see the "there's no such thing as spoilers" crowd have started in on the main thread.

Not if you want to have a decent discussion, not really, no. That has put out 8 or 9 episodes, with the season finale coming up, there's the books...best just to stay far away if spoilers bother you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 PM on June 14, 2011


I see the "there's no such thing as spoilers" crowd have started in on the main thread.

Since I posted in that thread right before you posted this, I'm going to assume you're talking about my thoughts on the OMG KNOWLEDGE RUINED EVERYTHING FOR ME brigade. (Hey, if we're going to be snotty about each other's opinions, let's really go for it.)

So here's the thing: I haven't read the books. I am enjoying the hell out of the TV series, which for some reason I didn't expect to enjoy, but I'll be damned if it's not engaging as hell. But if I wanted to remain completely spoiler-free, not only would I have to avoid large portions of the internet, I would also have to avoid many of my friends and coworkers, because guess what? The books have been out for AGES. Seriously. The first book was published in 1996. The most recently published book, the fourth in the series, came out in 2005. Most people I know who enjoy this kind of stuff already read the books years ago.

I really, genuinely do not understand, if you are intent on remaining completely free of any advance knowledge of the plot, why you would then make the decision to read anything on the internet about the very thing you're trying to avoid having advance knowledge about. When I wanted to remain spoiler free about the final Harry Potter book, I definitely did not read the Metafilter thread that talked about the bits of the story that were leaked prior to the book's release. But had I done so, would it then be appropriate for me to jump into the thread and get all pissy with people for spoiling the book for me, when it was my own free will and poor decision making that got me there?
posted by palomar at 6:17 PM on June 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


SPOILER

Once again, that's <abbr title="Enter spoiler text here">SPOILER</abbr>
posted by Deathalicious at 6:26 PM on June 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


I really, genuinely do not understand, if you are intent on remaining completely free of any advance knowledge of the plot, why you would then make the decision to read anything on the internet about the very thing you're trying to avoid having advance knowledge about. When I wanted to remain spoiler free about the final Harry Potter book, I definitely did not read the Metafilter thread that talked about the bits of the story that were leaked prior to the book's release. But had I done so, would it then be appropriate for me to jump into the thread and get all pissy with people for spoiling the book for me, when it was my own free will and poor decision making that got me there?

I think it's fair to say that a good percentage of people who watch the Harry Potter movies read the books. So discussing the contents of the books in the context of the movie is acceptable. It would have been unacceptable if, say, someone were to have gotten a hold of future books way ahead of schedule and had started discussing their content in a discussion board of an earlier book.

I think we can take it as a given that a fair amount of the people here on MetaFilter may have read the GoT series but that's not everybody. I mean, I intend to watch the miniseries eventually but haven't even gotten a chance to do that yet (I'll have to wait a year or so for the DVD probably, unless it's streaming somewhere or I decide to bite the bullet and use torrent).
posted by Deathalicious at 6:29 PM on June 14, 2011


Be warned. If you are downloading episode 9 from a certain buccaneer cove site there is a MASSIVE spoiler in the comments of the most popular torrent. Avert your gaze.
posted by unliteral at 6:36 PM on June 14, 2011


MrsA: Tell me what happens to X.
Me: No, I'll let you find out for yourself.


In my house, it's...

Mrs. T: Please let me tell you what happens next.
T: I already said I don't want you to.
posted by Trurl at 6:38 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are many, many places to discuss ASOIAF on the web. Let's keep it out of Mefi, yeah?
posted by GilloD at 6:43 PM on June 14, 2011


Deathalicious, when I brought up Harry Potter I was specifically talking about the books. Crucial plot points were leaked when the book was coming off the presses, and there was a post on Metafilter that contained not only links to PDF scans of the leaked book pages, but also just straight up "here is what happens!" in the comments.

Did I want to read that thread, because it was about Harry Potter and I was obsessed with all things Potter? Yes, I sure did. But did I want to run the risk of spoiling the book for myself? No, I did not. So I didn't read the thread until I'd bought and read the book. (Had I read the thread, however, would I have anyone to blame but myself? Nope! Damn that pesky free will!)

Do I think people should deliberately post spoilers? No. I do not. (And I take serious umbrage with ArtW's comment in the FPP about how he has to leave the thread because "folks will now make it as spoilerific as possible on general principle." Really, dude? Come on.) But people who willingly read a thread about a subject they emphatically do not want to be spoiled on and then gripe if they encounter anything remotely close to a spoiler -- do I find those people ridiculous? Yes. I do.
posted by palomar at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2011


And I take serious umbrage with ArtW's comment in the FPP about how he has to leave the thread because "folks will now make it as spoilerific as possible on general principle." Really, dude? Come on.

Thats exactly what's happened in the past.
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on June 14, 2011


palomar: The books have been out for AGES. Seriously.

The audience for a TV show is far larger than the readership of a book, which means there will be many, many people who are watching the show without having read the books.

Maybe we need a place for fans of the books to chat about it (a MetaChat thread?). But a thread about the TV series isn't the place.
posted by russilwvong at 6:49 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


there will be many, many people who are watching the show without having read the books.

Yeah, I know. As I said upthread, I haven't read the books. I'm only watching the series currently. And I don't feel that I've run across anything in the FPP that would make me enjoy future episodes or future seasons simply because I know a tiny bit about the overarching plot.
posted by palomar at 6:51 PM on June 14, 2011


I would say yes. But regardless of whether or not its cool to post such spoilers in the thread under discussion you definitely shouldn't post them in this thread, since there was no expectation of coming across such things here. I already read something in the comments above that I wish I hadn't. Just... watch it, please.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:52 PM on June 14, 2011


There are many, many places to discuss ASOIAF on the web. Let's keep it out of Mefi, yeah?

Please don't. The discussion will probably be better here than it is in those other places.
posted by Trurl at 6:53 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Argh. That should say "make me enjoy future episodes/seasons any less et cetera".)
posted by palomar at 6:55 PM on June 14, 2011


I'm going to remove myself from this discussion. Is the argument seriously that a threat on metatalk about what is and is not a spoiler shouldn't contain examples for parsing?

I've read all the books, haven't watched all the shows, and was trying to be respectful. The mods have been clear that Metafilter isn't spoiler-safe and will never have a spoiler tag.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:21 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm watching the series, and haven't read the books, and while I understand (and agree) that ROT13 can make a thread unreadable with all the whiteoutishness, I think just putting SPOILER before you type something pivotal to the plot is common courtesy.

This doesn't mean that I think you shouldn't be able to discuss theories or talk about characters and minor stuff, just serious plot twists. By 'serious', I'd say anything that, if read in a book, would come as a total surprise, usually at the end of a chapter or before turning the narration over to another character. The kind of thing that makes you swear at the author and rush through the next several pages until you get some closure is just as likely to make people on the internet swear at you for giving it away.

I wrote the post linked here, and really don't even deserve full credit for that, because it was based on an earlier post that was deleted, but I really didn't intend to spoil the show for anyone, just to encourage others to watch Game of Thrones if they hadn't. So I'm a little miffed, too, that others are giving away too much, though, unlike Artw, I credit it to unbridled enthusiasm on their part and not malicious intent.
posted by misha at 7:42 PM on June 14, 2011


I am speaking as somebody who has seen every episode to date and who has read all of the books: Spoilers for this series are pure douchebaggery. I understand that we're people who love these books, because indeed they are lovable, and that our love makes us want to talk about them. What's more, our love makes us want to talk about them here, because we know that the people here are good readers and are smart and can approach the books from a history-of-sword-and-sorcery direction and a pseudo-historical direction and a sociopolitical dimension and a straight-up who's Jon Snow's momma direction. However...

...as popular as these books have been for some years, there are still many MANY people who are only reading them now, as the show ignites their interest. And to date? These books are like five thousand fucking pages of fiction, everybody. I do not think it is reasonable at all to expect that someone who began reading the series two months ago would be done now. I don't even think it's reasonable to expect they started reading it two months ago! So be cool, for real.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:48 PM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm just going to be the MONSTER who throws this out there: Can future books really be spoilers if you have nothing but your faith that the TV show will follow the books closely?

I mean, just a thought. If they do a book a season - even if they split the books into multiple seasons - it's almost a certainty that eventually the TV show will outpace the books. And what then? What if the producers are prepared for that eventuality and start making small changes - and maybe changes which aren't quite so small - ahead of time?

Other than delicious nerd tears from people who don't understand that changing things in the adaptation to a different medium is not necessarily a bad thing.

But really. Spoilers for the books are only spoilers for people who haven't read the books. For the TV show, I don't see it as a guarantee.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:52 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see how hypothesizing on Jon Snow's parentage could be considered a spoiler,since the only given facts have already been covered in the show (the Wylla story).

The problem is this, as I see it...in Book 1, there is the Wylla story plus the Tower of Joy flashback. As I understand it, the TV series has not done the Tower of Joy scene. At the end of book 1, that scene is the only foundation for the theory. Later books provide more.

So those of us who have read the books have more "facts" with which to speculate. For the folks brand new to it as a TV show, I can understand why the hints and speculation is frustrating and impossible to understand.

As far as the larger question goes, I think those of us who have read the books should avoid spoiling the TV show. There are lots of other haunts to discuss the details and impacts of later story developments, and I, for one, love seeing the unvarnished reaction of people new to the story.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:55 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


In next week's episodes of New Tales of the Gisaeng, Sa Ran and Da Mo send an ahjumma around to Doctor Geum's household to ask about what happened Sa Ran when she was abandoned as a baby.

Little do they know that Doctor Geum is Sa Ran's father, and twenty five years on, he's actually married the mother who abandoned her on the doorstep!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:57 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watched first episode. Rather meh. Seems racist, bloody and needlessly sexed up with mostly crappy acting and bluescreens.

The Imp does sound like fun though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find it hilarious when people describe such a tame story that happens in the equivalent of our Middle Ages as sexist and racist. I'm no expert on the period (though I know we have a few on MeFi) but I'd wager quite a bit real life in ~1300AD France or England was far, far more sexist and racist than what we see on GoT.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 8:13 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


until the next comic book thread has us hugging again.

Oh for fuck's sake! Now you've ruined MetaFilter for me forever...
posted by Chuckles at 8:17 PM on June 14, 2011


These Premises Are Alarmed writes "I agree with Justinian. I don't see the real spoilers beyond Season 1. I mean, yeah, I put a comment in there about Glevba'f qvfsvtherzrag, ohg V ynoryyrq vg pyrneyl nf n fcbvyre naq .. jryy, vg whfg gryyf lbh gung ur yvirf ybat rabhtu gb trg uvf abfr phg bss. Anyway, it was relevant to the topic of the thread: are they going to minimize the disfigurement of a very popular actor on the show? Like Harry Potter's scar got minimized?"

Did you really have to drop this discussion into a policy thread?
posted by Mitheral at 8:19 PM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


In the next Harry Potter movie, Harry dies. Sorta.
posted by chimaera at 8:34 PM on June 14, 2011


For the life of me I have no idea why people think there will ever be a firm site policy that prohibits non-derailing topics from being discussed in threads.

I mean, just imagine if the mods enforced a "no-spoilers" policy. How do you even decide what's a spoiler and what's not? And is cortex just supposed to memorize ASOIAF and hover over threads, ready to delete any comment that hints at upcoming story lines?
posted by auto-correct at 8:37 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex doesn't hover, he teleports.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:38 PM on June 14, 2011


I think just putting SPOILER before you type something pivotal to the plot is common courtesy.

That's weird to me, since in my mind common courtesy is, well, common. It's not something people have to fight for. It's not generally something you need to remind people of. It's generally not something people debate. It's also universally understood if not followed. Some people might not say "Excuse me" after a belch, but they usually know when they are violating the norm.

When I see a thread about a subject I assume that it is going to have information about that subject that I lack. If I am wanting to find that information out on my own I avoid the sources that will tell me the answer.

My girlfriend loves hockey. She will sometimes not be able to see the game live. She'll watch the DVR game as long as she doesn't know the results. These are already fixed and set in history, but as long as they are unfolding in her reality it's still exciting. If she knows the results she won't watch.

Now I always jump online as soon as the game begins. I'm not a fan and am not vested in the outcome. I am more interested in whether the night will end with her mood being good or not.

Now, if she hasn't seen the results of the Stanley Cup I would actually not expect her to go to her news sites on Thursday. I would think she'd stay off metafilter. And if there is a Stanley Cup thread I would think she wouldn't kick into it.

This analogy breaks down a little, but I'm not getting how one can participate in a thread about a subject on which he wishes to remain ignorant and then get upset that story points are revealed.

I would assume it goes without saying that there's 72 point flashing pink type at the top of that thread that says, "Enter are your own risk!" It's not even going to occur to me that any information will be unwelcome in such a thread. I also don't generally care what people tell me about ahead of time, so it's hard for me to remember that some people will be upset knowing who killed who or even that someone died.1

And a side point, but I've been at the periphery of fandom for long enough to know that nothing is considered trivial when it comes to story elements. Geeks and nerds (and I count myself among these) will debate the significance of the smallest element. So deciding what is pivotal would be near impossible in my mind. I remember the shit storm over people getting upset at finding out that Tom Bombadil wasn't going to be in the LoTR movies. Some people consider that a pivotal event in the books. Others read it as filler that doesn't really fit. Me? I'm like that guy in the back seat in Pulp Fiction.

SPOILER

The one that gets shot right in the face. I don't even have an opinion on that.

Also, explain how marking something SPOILER helps. Are you truly able to avoid the words around them? Even if set off by several lines I don't find it helps.

When talking about the ending of the movie Dune does having...


SPOILER







He kills Sting, his sister flies, the fat man gets sucked out a hole (and not in a good way) and then it fucking rains!



Really allow you to avert your eyes? Then what? You wait for the next post and pray it doesn't quote the spoiler part?

I just doesn't see this as being at all tenable. But then I don't get the need, so I admit I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm just curious about the fight rules.

Seems to me there could be a cool technical solution to this issue. Create a user pref that hides anything marked with an uncommon tag like samp or cite or something. Have this be completely hidden unless you hit a little button, but this would require everyone to agree on what constitutes a spoiler and I don't think that's ever going to happen.

1. SPOILER

I was talking about Snape killing Dumbledore, but didn't want to ruin it for others.

That'll be my last point: How long ago can something have occurred before we no longer need a warning? I don't think we need spoiler warnings for any of the Star Wars movies for example. Some people would disagree.

I doubt I could have written this long of a dissenting opinion of a "bless you" after sneezing (a common courtesy I find infuriating and grinding, but one I have learned to live with and reluctantly participate in because it's a societal norm).
posted by cjorgensen at 8:46 PM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thats exactly what's happened in the past.

What are you talking about? Other recent spoiler MeTas have dealt with Dr. Who and Portal 2 and were just as spoiler-filled before the post as after.

I don't think anyone has gone out of their way to be assholes in threads. The Portal 2 thread was highly ROT13'd (ugh. UGH.) The Doctor Who threads were both filled with spoilers, but I don't think they received *more* spoilers post-MeTa.

Honestly, what do you expect to happen? At this point you should have reached the conclusion that any topic that can be spoiled will be. Threads about Treme? Probably have spoilers. Thread about Duke Nukem Forever? Probably has spoilers.

I am sorry that spoilers ruin things for you, but at this point you're beating a horse that has been declared dead.
posted by graventy at 8:50 PM on June 14, 2011


I mean, just imagine if the mods enforced a "no-spoilers" policy.

They won't, and nobody is really asking them to.

How do you even decide what's a spoiler and what's not?

You know, I'm prepared to accept peoples hones. Judgement on this - when mefites give it a thought aren't going out of their way to post spoilers they seem to do alright.
posted by Artw at 8:53 PM on June 14, 2011


Tyrion's disfigurement

OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:56 PM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I mean, yeah, I put a comment in there about Tyrion's disfigurement, but I labelled it clearly as a spoiler and .. well, it just tells you that he lives long enough to get his nose cut off.

You bastard, I'm probably like three chapters away from that happening.

Breathe, remember, plotpointsdonotthebookmake plotpointsdonotthebookmake plotpointsdonotthebookmake
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:02 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I was pretty disappointed when folks started in on the "Well in the books...!" FFS people, the discussion was based around the show and Dinklage, how is blatantly giving away future plot points not fucking spoiling it?

The fact you guys came in here and dropped some more spoilerriffic bullshit is just plain asshattery. I guess rtha is right and I'll have to take this out of recent activity just so I can watch that show without the fanatics gleefully fucking up my enjoyment.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:10 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Deathalicious: "Once again, that's <abbr title="Enter spoiler text here">SPOILER</abbr>"

misuse of the abbrev tag makes the baby semantic web cry
posted by idiopath at 9:12 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually I would propose a technical solution. I don' t know on what framework MeFI is based (I suspect it is home grown) but the following might be feasible.

1. Create a Spoiler flag for entire threads and/or single posts .

2. Create a process that runs every x minutes (5, 10 ...whatever) and if a set number of spoiler flags are received (2,3,5 ... whatever) on a post it marks the thread and/or post somehow as a spoiler. (obviously this would be easier to implement on entire threads - less processor intensive )

3. Create a user option to not show the spoiled comments and/or threads if so marked.

4. Create a process to limit the number of spoiler flags a user can place in a given time period to avoid misuse

I'd be willing to donate the coding time myself just so I'd never have to see a freaking to see a freaking meta thread about spoilers again. also I'm bored
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:13 PM on June 14, 2011


The fact you guys came in here and dropped some more spoilerriffic bullshit is just plain asshattery. I guess rtha is right and I'll have to take this out of recent activity just so I can watch that show without the fanatics gleefully fucking up my enjoyment.

Wow, way to blame everyone else for your decision to keep reading the thread!
posted by palomar at 9:14 PM on June 14, 2011


If we had a spoiler flag I'd create an army of sock puppets and flag everything cortex says. No one would ever see his comments again.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:17 PM on June 14, 2011


If we had a spoiler flag I'd create an army of sock puppets and flag everything cortex says.

If that were possible people would already be doing it using existing flags. The existing framework probably already has code in place to weed out such things.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:20 PM on June 14, 2011


How about allowing text marked with the 'spoiler' tag to be the same color as the background of the page? I always liked this solution.
posted by Aquaman at 9:21 PM on June 14, 2011


How about allowing text marked with the 'spoiler' tag to be the same color as the background of the page? I always liked this solution.

That relies on the poster to implement the tag. These endlessly tedious spoiler Metas exist because the poster and the spoilee rarely agree on what constitutes a spoiler. The solution that I proposed relies on the spoilee to both flag what she thinks is a spoiler and agree to be bound by other spoilees decision on what constitutes a spoiler thus removing the original poster from the equation
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:24 PM on June 14, 2011


I'm would gladly donate to Poet_Lariat's suggestion and I say this as someone who avoided the Who thread until this weekend and will have to avoid the GoT thread until I finish reading, well, several thousand more pages. By the time I CAN read the GoT thread...I shudder to think how long it'll be.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:24 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, way to blame everyone else for your decision to keep reading the thread!

Really? I blamed everyone? Which thread? The one about the show or the one in your head you thought was about the books? Or the this one which was specifically about not spoiling shit. Oh, wait you're just using some bullshit reasoning about how spoiling stuff is cooool beans.

Two tears in a bucket. I'm out.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:25 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay this is weird, but I'm asking for a spoiler request. Do the horse nomads ever cross the sea? MeMail me if you must.
posted by geoff. at 9:32 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


misuse of the abbrev tag makes the baby semantic web cry

How is abbr formed?
posted by staggernation at 9:36 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Snape killing Dumbledore

Wait what? Who the fuck are Snape and Dumnledore, are they in book 2? Cuz I'm still on In the House Of The Worm.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:41 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


A note to put this in context: What was spoiled would be a spoiler even if you were fully caught up with the television show in question and at no point up until that spoiler was dropped was the thread about anything but the television show.

To frame it as "well you should stay out of threads on a show until you've caught up if you don't want to be spoiled" is incorrect.
posted by flatluigi at 9:42 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


also please, don't threadshit in MetaTalk. If you don't care about this discussion leave the thread instead of dropping lulzy jokes all over the place!
posted by flatluigi at 9:43 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually I would propose a technical solution.

I dig the creative thinking but that is not going to happen, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:44 PM on June 14, 2011


Just a thought - though I was pretty sure that you all probably thought of it already :)
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:50 PM on June 14, 2011


SoIaF spoilers are always a little wierd. I mean, you tell someone "Guess what! Zelpath is actually a good guy and he saves the life of Belmoth in book four" and they say "I've never heard of any of these people".

You can blab that character X dies, but it doesn't matter in all cases because sometimes they come back from the dead. What's the spoiler?

Snoot may not actually be dead! Wait, Snoot was supposed to be dead? Was that on page 730 or something because I kind of drifted off at that point?

I've read all the books and I just realized that I don't get all the spoilers because I've forgotten half of the names. Justinian was saying "Jon Snow's mother is probably who you think it is wink wink" and I had to confess I had no idea who I thought it was.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:56 PM on June 14, 2011


> I'd be willing to donate the coding time myself just so I'd never have to see a freaking to see a freaking meta thread about spoilers again.

This comes up over and over again, and really, its the fact that still only a handful of users (remember, only 5-15% of metafilter is made up of people who post comments vs logged in users who just read the site, most are people who read them), have had trouble parsing spoilers / rot13 stuff in the past. In fact, since those folks appear to remain pretty much silent about the issue, and choose not to even comment in the Spoilers thread, instead just the same group of vocal folks bring it up again and again.

Will a technical solution stop griefing? No, because the same jerks who threadshit with spoilers in spoiler metas are going to continue to do so. The people who post spoilers by accident are still going to do so, because if they realized what they were posting was a spoiler (enough to justify using a spoiler tag) they may have thought to A) not mention B) put some sort of preliminary spoiler tag in place already.

Because there is such a large user base, any major change to the website would have to be off when rolled out (as a user preference), so only people who knew about spoilers would enable it, which rules out the first two groups I mentioned above. And then there would be metas by the same people complaining about how they had the decency to go and enable and use spoiler tags, but Bob and Jim didn't, and they are horrible people. Even though Bob and Jim may not have known to use them, or again, thought about it. Because MetaFilter doesn't do spoiler tags (and since it is such a broad site, a global spoiler content warning is useless).

The best thing we can hope for is that folks who are posting Spoilery content atleast do so below the fold (which still doesn't happen all the time, and the mods have to intervene to fix it up), and people to assume that MetaFilter is not a safe website to view if you are not wanting to get spoiled about specific topics of your interest.

I managed to stay out of the current Game Of Thrones / Dinklage is Awesome thread because I hadn't seen Sunday's episode, knowing that it would be brought up (and even though I've read all the books, I don't want how HBO's version of the story was portrayed to be spoiled for myself).

I've had stuff spoiled for me here, and it really sucks, but in those instances no level of modly or technical intervention would have prevented it from happening, nothing short of a Google History / NetFlix / Amazon / Library / School History cross referenced filter that could provide a natural language parser that prefiltered content based on things it knew I had read, viewed, listened to or had a friend retell the story of. The people posting the comments or posts did not think what they were saying were spoilers ("everyones read / seen it!") or they were intentionally threadshitting.

Here is a technical solution for Spoilers on MetaFilter: someone register MefiSpoilers.com, slap PHPBB on it, and anytime you want to be able to have a spoiler free discussion related to a mefi topic (or really, just create channels for Dr Who, Games of Thrones, and all other things of note), JUST GO THERE TO TALK ABOUT IT.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:02 PM on June 14, 2011


Really? I blamed everyone?

Well, I suppose not everyone, like, in the entire universe. Since you were all, "The fact that you guys came in here blah blah" and "just so I can watch the show without the fanatics gleefully fucking everything up for me" up there, I suppose you can take my use of the word everyone to mean the set of people that doesn't include yourself, since you're not willing to own your decisions. You made the choice to read the FPP that is riddled with spoilers from people who have read the books, and you made the choice to participate in a MeTa thread talking about those spoilers and are they really spoilers and the general issue of spoilers. I'm not sure how any reasonable person could NOT expect to encounter a spoiler in either thread.

As for your assertion that this MeTa thread is "specifically about not spoiling shit", let's see -- I see two very large spoilers regarding Game of Thrones, one very large spoiler regarding Dune (oh noes, I haven't seen or read Dune yet and now it is ruined and I am so very angry, what asshattery!!!), and minor spoilers for a few other books or movies. I also see a whole lot of discussion about how it is nearly impossible to avoid spoilers because one person's definition does not match another's, and some debate about how long one has to maintain a spoiler-free zone surrounding a given topic, and how if you don't want to encounter spoilers then unfortunately it's your responsibility to manage that.

Oh, wait you're just using some bullshit reasoning about how spoiling stuff is cooool beans.

No, I'm not, and you'd know that if you'd bother to read my comments in this thread instead of wedging your head so far up your ass that you're looking out of your own mouth.
posted by palomar at 10:07 PM on June 14, 2011


Yes, someone do Television Without Pity for metafilter, I am serious, I always want to discuss Mad Men and I am forced to make due with the Television Without Pity forums.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:07 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


WARNING, SPOILER.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:12 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair I did mark the Dune spoiler as a spoiler.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:14 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


WARNING, SPOILER.

DAMNIT!!@ I didn't want to know how that car ended, yet!
posted by loquacious at 10:27 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spoiler
posted by not_on_display at 10:32 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've given up on arguing Metafilters "Spoilers are mandatory and you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" policy.

There are at least two major problems with that characterization of the site policy on spoilers, but I'm at least as tired as you are of the argument so I'm fine with us just sort of leaving it alone this time and sufficing to make faces at each other from across the room until the next comic book thread has us hugging again.


You know, Cortex, maybe you should explain why that's not Metafilters spoiler policy, because a bunch of folk he sure seem to believe it is.
posted by Artw at 11:17 PM on June 14, 2011


Hell hath no fury like a nerd scorned.
posted by bardic at 11:21 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why? it's in the FAQ.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:24 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw, you are to spoilers what Joe Beese was to Obama. Like Joe Beese, you seem unable or unwilling to understand why others don't share your passion, and incapable of not picking the conceptual scab the topic encapsulates for you.

I respectfully submit that no one should be to anything like Joe Beese was to Obama.
posted by smoke at 11:30 PM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've read all the books that are currently out for this series and am waiting impatiently for the next one. I have not watched the TV series as we don't have HBO. My boss, who isn't shy of spoilers and does have HBO, asks me every week what I think about various story points.

I think I'm looking forward to seeing this, as they seem to be keeping the same story-lines as the books, and I hear it's very well done. I'm not worried by spoilers, either, though. I'll often look up a movie or series on IMDB before I spend time on it. I think I knew the spoiler for Fight Club before I watched it for the first time and it added to my enjoyment.

But that's just me.

The boss asks me for clarifications and specifically says she doesn't mind spoilers. I ask her how various things are handled on film. I tell her what I know from the books. We have a great talk about the story we both like. We both think Tyrion is pretty cool. He might be the most interesting character in the whole shebang, paper or video.

We also make sure to not ruin it for our colleagues in the office.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:30 AM on June 15, 2011


I respectfully submit that nobody should compare others to Joe Beese.

(Especially when his main issue was bringing up his issues in unrelated threads and Artw's kept his opinions on spoilers to threads about spoilers, which I really don't think he should be faulted for!)
posted by flatluigi at 12:32 AM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'll reiterate my own point, for the sake of this new thread:

Some people care about spoilers, other people don't care a red cent. Posting unmarked spoilers fucks over the people who care while the people who don't care continue not to, while marking spoilers helps those who care and doesn't stop the people who don't care in any way.

There is literally (and I mean literally) no reason not to mark spoilers for the sake of the people who care. There is no drawback, no detriment to the people who don't care.
posted by flatluigi at 12:35 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, way to blame everyone else for your decision to keep reading the thread!

I wasn't reading a thread when I came across WARNING - SPOILERS - DON'T CLICK - this lovely piece of fucking spoilage, because it was right there on the front fucking page.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:43 AM on June 15, 2011


Artw's kept his opinions on spoilers to threads about spoilers, which I really don't think he should be faulted for!

That is true, I wholeheartedly retract my comparison.
posted by smoke at 1:16 AM on June 15, 2011


Smoke - trust me, I'd much rather be having The fun discussion about the enjoyable TV series that I was having this morning than this one about how I should be considered an idiot for expecting to participate in that discussion without having already read all the books.
posted by Artw at 1:19 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mind you, there is that refrain about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome...
posted by smoke at 1:22 AM on June 15, 2011


Well, you got a different outcome -before the previous I thought the majorityMefites where a reasonable bunch who could be trusted to use good judgement when it comes to deciding whether or not to post spoilers, now I think a good proportion of you are spitefull and untrustworthy and may well post spoilers just to prove some point. That's a different result, no?
posted by Artw at 1:33 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, not really, because you pretty much said the exact same things several times in that doctor who thread not so long ago, and again the subsequent meta. So it sounds like kinda axe-grindy and sulky and imputing motivations you have no way of knowing to me now, and there seems to have been no reduction in the spoilers - which is what you really wanted, wasn't it?
posted by smoke at 1:35 AM on June 15, 2011


Mind you, there is that refrain about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome...

And yet the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Cliches are funny like that - you can usually match one with one as well-known saying the exact opposite.
posted by flatluigi at 1:38 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


there seems to have been no reduction in the spoilers - which is what you really wanted, wasn't it?

Well, no, Smoke. I mean, I maybe expected less spoilers when I made that last request, but now I would only expect more.

So really nowdays I actual agree that some threads being full of spoilers is innevitable, on brushed with a meta like this is surely doomed, for instance, so really you've convinced me of your case. I think we're probably going to differ on whether that's a good thing though.
posted by Artw at 1:57 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will pay the domain/hosting for the first year if someone can make a site functionally similar to kink.com gamefilter.net, metachat, sportsfilter... y'know, that sort of site.
posted by jtron at 2:13 AM on June 15, 2011


MetaSpoil ?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:58 AM on June 15, 2011


Maybe now, because this affects Game of Thrones, which is srs grownup entertainment, something will be done.

I don't see why we can't have a policy of: Accidental spoilers are going to happen, but please try to mark things that you think might be spoilery. We're already having these discussions, so it's not like there will be a sudden upsurge in complaints. "We can't stop spoilers or catch them all, so read at your own risk. But please don't be an ass, either."
posted by Eideteker at 3:53 AM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


If someone thinks learning spoiler plot points in advance ruins a story, does this mean they can never read a book twice, or watch a film or tv show twice because they'll know the plot in advance and therefore its forever ruined?
posted by talitha_kumi at 4:05 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, Cortex, maybe you should explain why that's not Metafilters spoiler policy, because a bunch of folk he sure seem to believe it is.

We are at the point where we do not feel that we are responsible for people's uncharitable interpretations of how we feel about spoilers that crop up because people show up in MeTa either

- making negative pronouncements about how we feel about spoilers up to and including feeling "sure everyone should be spoilered WTF get over it"
- posting spoilers to be assholes
- posting spoilers by accident

There is not a technological solution that we could employ that would keep people from being spoiled, so we do not have one. That is the policy.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:44 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know MeFi is never going to have a way of indicating spoilers, or any hard and fast rules on them. It's not practical and never will be.

But it would be absolutely fan-fucking-tastic if people could try not to post spoilers anyway, in the same way that we don't usually use racist, homophobic or sexist slurs out of consideration for other people even though there's no ban on them and they probably wouldn't get deleted.

The common element here (before some quick-yet-unobservant reader accuses me of saying spoilers are the equivalent of racism) is that it's a matter of being considerate to your fellow MeFites, and understanding that just because you don't share their views/sensitivities/opinions, there's no need to make their day suck. I have stopped using the word retarded IRL as well as here, not because it's a problem for me, but because it's a problem for people I've never met. I don't see any reason to make them feel like shit when they've never done anything to hurt me.

MeFi will never be completely spoiler-free. But it could be moderately spoiler-free if people who don't mind spoilers, or don't believe they can exist, would be more considerate of other people's enjoyment.
posted by harriet vane at 4:45 AM on June 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


If someone thinks learning spoiler plot points in advance ruins a story, does this mean they can never read a book twice, or watch a film or tv show twice because they'll know the plot in advance and therefore its forever ruined?

I can't speak for everyone, but no. It means that the first time around I get to enjoy the surprise, suspense and discovery as the plot unfolds, and the second time around I get to enjoy the foreshadowing or analyse the cinematography or pay attention to small details I missed on the earlier viewing. Both are fun, but the first one can't be recaptured ever again.
posted by harriet vane at 4:49 AM on June 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


Man, just keep to yourself if you don't want to learn anything new.
posted by ryanrs at 4:51 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


But it would be absolutely fan-fucking-tastic if people could try not to post spoilers anyway, in the same way that we don't usually use racist, homophobic or sexist slurs out of consideration for other people even though there's no ban on them and they probably wouldn't get deleted.

I really want to be sympathetic to those who hate spoilers. Being a slow consumer of media I rarely have anything to spoil, but I like everyone generally to get their rocks off however they see fit. But the hyperbole from spoiler-haters really gets in the way. There is no point too small to be spoiled, there is no story too old. Apparently there is also no difference of opinion that spoilers are the worst that does not indicate the holder is an asshole. Now, we learn that the kind of civility that requires us to forgo hate-speech, you know, that type of writing or speech that aims to psychologically scar, and frequently bleeds into physical assault, should require us to forgo spoilers.

Give me a fucking break.
posted by OmieWise at 5:14 AM on June 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


Trigger warning: spoilers ?
posted by ServSci at 5:19 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really want to be sympathetic to those who hate spoilers. Being a slow consumer of media I rarely have anything to spoil, but I like everyone generally to get their rocks off however they see fit. But the hyperbole from spoiler-haters really gets in the way.

Agreed. Ya'll seem to get pretty unreasonable about this and it's intensely off putting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:27 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> But the hyperbole from spoiler-haters really gets in the way. There is no point too small to be spoiled, there is no story too old.

Why is that 'hyperbole?' Is there a fundamental issue with wanting to be completely unspoiled?

> Apparently there is also no difference of opinion that spoilers are the worst that does not indicate the holder is an asshole.

I'm having trouble parsing this, but I think you're saying that everyone who hates spoilers are assholes, which is really unhelpful mud-slinging.

> Now, we learn that the kind of civility that requires us to forgo hate-speech, you know, that type of writing or speech that aims to psychologically scar, and frequently bleeds into physical assault, should require us to forgo spoilers.

Now you're using hyperbole. They were asking that the 'don't be a dick' rule extend to spoilers. Hate speech would be the extreme of that rule and spoiling things the norm, not the other way around.
posted by flatluigi at 5:45 AM on June 15, 2011


Why is that 'hyperbole?' Is there a fundamental issue with wanting to be completely unspoiled?

Yeah, it requires that others anticipate and adjust their words or actions in order to protect those who deem spoilers very important. At the core, it's a demand by a vocal segment of the MeFi populace to abide by fairly impossible guidelines.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 AM on June 15, 2011


Is there a fundamental issue with wanting to be completely unspoiled?

There is a conflict between having this desire and wanting to interact with people on MetaFilter, a community that does not have hiding spoilers as a core value.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:07 AM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


but I think you're saying that everyone who hates spoilers are assholes, which is really unhelpful mud-slinging.

Quite the opposite. Spoiler haters in this thread have imputed the worst of motives to those who have revealed items that the spoiler haters wanted censored.

They were asking that the 'don't be a dick' rule extend to spoilers.

The example chosen analogized the "don't be a dick" rule that governs hate speech with how we should all feel about spoilers. First, it gets the admonition against hate speech wrong; second, it begs the question. It's a ridiculous analogy, and offensive as an implicit comparison. It makes spoiler haters seem like cranks.
posted by OmieWise at 6:09 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's really more a matter of this: people coming into a TV thread and talking about the books hurts the feelings of people who haven't read them, and there's no actual REASON to do it.

When I was reading the first book, someone came up to me and told me Ned dies. It fucking sucked. Yeah the books had been out for fifteen years at that point, but it sucked anyway. My intention in making this request was to attempt to shield TV-watchers from similar suckery.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:29 AM on June 15, 2011


I wasn't reading a thread when I came across WARNING - SPOILERS - DON'T CLICK - this lovely piece of fucking spoilage, because it was right there on the front fucking page.

That sucks, and I'm sorry that that happened, but that is not a thread that P.o.B. was talking about.

Please dial down your hostility a tiny notch. Thanks.
posted by palomar at 6:33 AM on June 15, 2011


I think it's really more a matter of this: people coming into a TV thread and talking about the books hurts the feelings of people who haven't read them, and there's no actual REASON to do it.

The show is based on a series of books, of course people are going to be discussing them. It's perfectly natural that people want to do this. The claim that there is no reason to do is odd, imo. People talk, conversation drifts, it happens.

If a person wants to talk about something, but not discuss certain aspects of that conversation, it's better that they remove themselves from the conversation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2011


people coming into a TV thread and talking about the books hurts the feelings of people who haven't read them, and there's no actual REASON to do it.

You're taking the enthusiasm of people who are enjoying the show and who enjoyed the books, and who are maybe a little too enthusiastic about talking about the books without remembering that not everyone has read them yet, and you're spinning it in a way that adds malice where there is none.

It hurts their feelings? I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that. I've had a shitload of things spoiled for me and at times it's made me a little mad, but I wouldn't say my feelings were hurt. That would mean I'm taking spoiilers personally as some kind of attack against me, which is... nuts.
posted by palomar at 6:38 AM on June 15, 2011


My intention in making this request was to attempt to shield TV-watchers from similar suckery.

And yet you just dropped a spoiler (a big one? I don't know - I haven't watched the TV series, and I started the first book a few weeks ago but then got distracted by other stuff and haven't picked it back up yet) on people who haven't read the book and may not have finished watching the first series yet. Or does my irony meter need more caffeine?
posted by rtha at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


OmieWise, I guess you missed the part where I spelled out that I'm not comparing spoilers to hate speech. It's about courtesy on issues in MeFi where people have different opinions. I'll try again, in case I wasn't clear last time.

MeFi's figured out tougher issues than this without needing a tech solution. Generally, most people here try not to be arseholes about things we'll never get a consensus on, like the exact level of offensiveness of the word 'cunt' - it differs by age, country, social group, etc. There's no bright line definition of hate speech, and not everyone even believes in the existence of hate speech, but we all try to get along anyway without making the mods police us. (Religion vs atheism is a similar issue: no bright lines, etc. But I don't think we've really figured that one out yet).

And please, don't confuse all the people who dislike spoilers with ArtW. Some of us are trying really hard to have a civilised discussion about this. Being told that you're an idiot for liking such shallow tv or movies that can even be spoiled, or that you're over-sensitive, or whatever, isn't any more fun than being told that you're an unfeeling bastard who enjoys spoiling everyone's fun just by talking about something you enjoyed watching.
posted by harriet vane at 6:52 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw: I've given up on arguing Metafilters "Spoilers are mandatory and you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" policy.

Clearly.
posted by enn at 6:57 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that I don't even know what a spoiler is.

Is it a comment that reveals a plot point in a story? I always thought it was a notice to let people know that such a thing was coming.

Also, the don't be a dick think works both ways. Yes, it would be nice if people were considerate enough to flag up when they were likely to reveal a plot point. But the other side needs to be considerate and not be a dick by whining about it when someone actually does it for any reason other than malice.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:59 AM on June 15, 2011


The show is based on a series of books, of course people are going to be discussing them. It's perfectly natural that people want to do this. The claim that there is no reason to do is odd, imo. People talk, conversation drifts, it happens.

If a person wants to talk about something, but not discuss certain aspects of that conversation, it's better that they remove themselves from the conversation.


So, for a person who has seen the show but never read the books, there is nowhere they should be allowed to discuss them, at all, anywhere? That sucks.

And yet you just dropped a spoiler (a big one? I don't know - I haven't watched the TV series, and I started the first book a few weeks ago but then got distracted by other stuff and haven't picked it back up yet) on people who haven't read the book and may not have finished watching the first series yet. Or does my irony meter need more caffeine?

I guess I really haven't explained myself well. This is a thread about the show. That event has occurred in the show.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:05 AM on June 15, 2011

I've given up on arguing Metafilters "Spoilers are mandatory and you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" policy.
Dude, it's not the dislike of spoilers that's making you an asshole, it's the histrionics.
I don't see why we can't have a policy of: Accidental spoilers are going to happen, but please try to mark things that you think might be spoilery. We're already having these discussions, so it's not like there will be a sudden upsurge in complaints. "We can't stop spoilers or catch them all, so read at your own risk. But please don't be an ass, either."
But.... that is the policy! (more or less). I think there's also been a rider that posters who are obfuscating spoilers should try to keep the volume down to the point that it doesn't obscure a whole thread.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:15 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


PeterMcDermott - yes, a comment that reveals a plot point in a story. A spoiler warning is when you let people know that you're going to reveal a plot point.

I've never bitched about anyone accidentally revealing a plot point - the internet's only been around a short while, and before that you could pretty safely assume that for tv and movies, if someone hadn't seen it by the time you did, they probably weren't going to. Or you could just ask them directly, in person. Now we've got stupid region lock-outs, people trying not to break copyright law, other people torrenting frequently, and far too much media for anyone to consume asap after release date, people wanting to discuss stuff in worldwide forums. It's a really difficult problem to avoid.
posted by harriet vane at 7:19 AM on June 15, 2011


I guess I really haven't explained myself well. This is a thread about the show. That event has occurred in the show.

though obiwanwasabi would presumably flip out over that revelation even more than the AskMe mentioned upthread.
posted by russm at 7:24 AM on June 15, 2011


talitha_kumi writes "If someone thinks learning spoiler plot points in advance ruins a story, does this mean they can never read a book twice, or watch a film or tv show twice because they'll know the plot in advance and therefore its forever ruined?"

Sometimes the media is weak such that knowing the story greatly reduces the enjoyment of the story. So for example I don't rewatch any Law and Order that I've already seen. I probably wouldn't rewatch Perry Mason or Murder She Wrote either if I watched those shows. 3/4ters of the fun for me of any mystery is trying to figure it out as I go along and I don't other wise enjoy those types of stories.

However movies like the Sixth Sense and Fight Club are just as much fun the second and subsequent times but for different reasons than the first viewing. I'm really glad I got to see those films the first time without knowing the reveal. Wish I could have seen the Crying Game that way.
posted by Mitheral at 7:27 AM on June 15, 2011


I've never bitched about anyone accidentally revealing a plot point

Sorry, I was making a general point rather than aiming that specifically at you, harriet vane
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:32 AM on June 15, 2011


The answer is right up there in the first comment of this thread:

Other web sites specifically ask that Books 2-4 information be kept out of comment threads about the TV show.

A smart person would go to one of those other sites for such discussion, or avoid it altogether.

Since there is no spoiler muzzle here, going into a thread about your favorite current TV show is like going into a bar right after the ballgame and demanding nobody talk about the result. The metaphorical bartender, and a dozen people who just sat there and watched the game together, all shout, "Get the fuck out of here!"

If spoilers really bug you, that's sound advice.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:34 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, obisanwasabi, I'm not sure I understand your anger.

The AskMe that you linked to seems pretty innocuous to me, spoiler-wise, at least in the context we're talking about here where people who are watching the TV show are upset about knowing any information from the books, especially future books.

When I look at the front page of AskMe to see the question you are upset about, I see that it says right up front, [Game of Thrones filter, likely spoilers], and then asks if a character is dead or not. It's a question asking for clarification from the book readers about events that have already taken place in the TV show. The episode where we last saw the character in question was the episode from last week (the 8th episode, the 9th is the one that just ran).

If you're watching the show as it airs, either on TV or torrented, you can reasonably expect to not encounter spoilers somehow (internet/radio/magazine covers/loud coworkers) within 12 to 48 hours after an episode airs, depending. If you're watching as the show airs and you fall a week or two behind, I'm sorry, but you're probably going to encounter a spoiler unless you take some pretty extreme measures. Encountering a spoiler "in the wild" can really suck, but it doesn't mean that the person who posted the spoiler is a callous asshole bent on destroying all fun. It means you fell behind.

If you're not planning to read the books and you're waiting for the DVDs to come out, all you really know from looking at the front page and not reading the responses is that something happens to a particular character, and that something is ambiguous enough that people are talking about it on AskMe. An extremist might consider that a spoiler, but I really don't see it that way, because to me an actual spoiler is something that tells me a major plot point (Darth is Luke's father! The sled's name is Rosebud!). All the AskMe question does is show that something happens to someone, and whatever happened is unclear enough that it sparked discussion. That doesn't spoil anything.
posted by palomar at 7:34 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


No worries, Peter, I took it as intended. Although yeah, my answer looks like I'm addressing it personally. It's getting late here in Oz, I should probably follow the Immlass Rule and toddle off now :)
posted by harriet vane at 7:36 AM on June 15, 2011


So, for a person who has seen the show but never read the books, there is nowhere they should be allowed to discuss them, at all, anywhere? That sucks.

Whaa? No one said you're only allowed to discuss x here and y there.

As someone who's never read the books and only seen the first episode and part the of the second, I would consider it weird for me ask or insist that those who have read the books not discuss them in a thread about the show. The two are interlinked and half the fun is discussing the differences, which is better, etc. People want to talk media they've enjoyed and that includes discussing stuff others may not have read or seen yet.

Darth is Luke's father! The sled's name is Rosebud!

Oh man, when Vader died, he should have mumbled "Watto".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Damn it. I meant "reasonably expect to encounter spoilers somehow", not NOT encounter. I'm not allowed to have caffeine anymore and it is really hindering me, man.)
posted by palomar at 7:44 AM on June 15, 2011


In the last thread, in which it was suggested that people a week ahead on Doctor Who maybe should show some consideration when posting it's plot points, PeterMcDermott responded that people should "torrent it or STFU". I'm just going to lay this out here: his confusion as to what a spoiler is and what constitutes dickish behaviour is a little bit pretend.
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on June 15, 2011


>> I've given up on arguing Metafilters "Spoilers are mandatory and you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" policy.

> There are at least two major problems with that characterization of the site policy on spoilers, but I'm at least as tired as you are of the argument so I'm fine with us just sort of leaving it alone this time and sufficing to make faces at each other from across the room until the next comic book thread has us hugging again.

You know, Cortex, maybe you should explain why that's not Metafilters spoiler policy, because a bunch of folk he sure seem to believe it is.


Right, so:

- "spoilers are mandatory" is wrong. Spoilers are not prohibited; people can discuss spoilery stuff in a non-asshole way in threads. No one is required to, many, many people elect not to, and no one has ever been given grief for declining to mention a spoiler.

There has been some pushback against the sudden, unexpected deployment in a couple of recent threads of conspicuous amounts of text obfuscation; that obfuscation, while done with the best of intentions, made for a jarring reading experience compared to the conventional practice over the last decade of just discussing or not discussing something in plain text using your best judgement. We have said that we don't want to see conspicuous text obfuscation continue to happen. That is not a mandate for spoilers, it's basically totally orthogonal to spoilers in principle: it's a request to not (even with good intentions!) muck with people's expectations about thread readability, period.

- "you're an asshole for expecting otherwise" is also wrong. Mod policy has no position on whether anyone is an angel or an asshole or more likely just an average generally-good human being; our policy on spoilers is that we want people to exercise a reasonable amount of caution and thoughtfulness about how they deal with spoilers (i.e. do not intentionally assholishly spoil stuff, post spoilers in weird-by-mefi-standards places, etc), but that beyond that the reader needs to be aware that mefi is not a spoiler-free zone, especially in threads touching on the spoilable subject, and the reader is fundamentally responsible for policing their own spoiler intake.

The way this works in practice is that people are generally quite decent about not being weirdly overt about sticking spoilers in surprising places; threads where spoilers might be likely sometimes have spoilers in them but don't always; folks who want to avoid spoilers can do pretty well by avoiding or removing-from-activity threads on a spoilable topic; and our only official "don't be an asshole" statement on the subject get directed at the rare folks who actually maliciously fuck around with e.g. spoilers splashed across the front page for lulz.

There is always some gap between any bit of mod policy and the position of a handful of people who strongly disagree with that policy, whether with it's basic intent or with it's failure to take that intent sufficiently far into the extreme. Those people sometimes act like jerks about the disagreement. That does not mean mod policy is "it's great to be a jerk about x", it means that we can't force everybody to agree with or be agreeable about policy.

I truly, genuinely sympathize with people who wish there was a more robust and codified spoiler containment regimen on Metafilter. I have to be careful about not getting spoiled on stuff here myself. But Mefi is not a spoiler-free zone. Our site policy reflects that. It does not mandate spoilers or any such thing; it does not consider people assholes for not wanting to be spoiled. It just does not, either, prohibit spoilers in many contexts nor consider people assholes for wanting to be able to discuss them without scorn in those contexts.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


See, linking to that askme as a spoiler is exactly what I was saying about no matter how small the point someone will consider it a spoiler.

> I wasn't reading a thread when I came across WARNING - SPOILERS - DON'T CLICK - this lovely piece of fucking spoilage, because it was right there on the front fucking page.

From that linked post:

[Game of Thrones Filter, likely spoilers] Did Syrio the swordmaster get killed or not?

That's all that is "above the fold." Anything else you had to click inside to see. Even the inside question is innocuous. The answers have spoilers in my mind, but if you are sticking around for the answers to questions you don't want answered then you get what's coming.

I don't see the above as a spoiler at all. It's a yes/no question. About all I can learn from that is the swordmaster was in a fight. Imagine that! Way to fucking ruin it.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:06 AM on June 15, 2011


In the last thread, in which it was suggested that people a week ahead on Doctor Who maybe should show some consideration when posting it's plot points, PeterMcDermott responded that people should "torrent it or STFU". I'm just going to lay this out here: his confusion as to what a spoiler is and what constitutes dickish behaviour is a little bit pretend

There's nothing pretend about my not knowing what constitutes a spoiler.

What isn't pretend is my antipathy for assholes who like to tell people how they can and can't post, when something isn't isn't explicly against the rules or the guidelines.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:09 AM on June 15, 2011


As someone who has read the books and has made a few comments that could be construed as spoilers, I guess that I'm a guilty party here.

Having spoiled myself with other shows when I was young and more boneheaded, I completely understand the sentiment behind a "no discussion of future plot points" policy. Watching something you know is coming isn't as satisfying as seeing it comepletely fresh.

However, who are these threads for? There is a decade-old readership of these books. Part of the fun of being part of that particular readership is seeing early reactions to the conventional tropes that Martin is settting up and knowing how thourughly he's going to fuck with those later. I really don't want to spoil things for the new viewers, but man, it's amusing to see the reactions (which remind me of my own as a reader). I really, really hope the TV show lasts until year three or four and the current viewership begins to see the pennies drop.

It's also fun, perhaps even useful that we allowed to discuss elements from later on in the books, even if we have to do it in an eliptical way, because there's lots of stuff happening now that looks trivial but will become important later. Jon Snow's parents is one of those (unresolved) mysteries. I don't think it really hurts a new viewer's enjoyment of the series to know that that's one of the big mysteries of the books.

So I guess I'm saying that we need a middle ground. We should be careful of outright spoilers, but, I think, it's fun and useful for estabished fans of the books to talk about the show in the context of what (may) come later. As someone who has been entertained by Martin's work for more than a decade, I think it's a shame if I'd have to skip those threads too.
posted by bonehead at 8:11 AM on June 15, 2011


There's nothing pretend about my not knowing what constitutes a spoiler.

You posted "torrent or STFU" as a response to people concerned about spoilers in thread about spoilers but you don't actually know what a spoiler is?
posted by Artw at 8:20 AM on June 15, 2011


Game of Thrones is a spoiler heavy series, it is more sensitive to these issues than most because of that and because some people online spoil people about it for sport.

If a thread is about a TV show, talking about plot points that haven't aired yet is a spoiler. So mark it. This isn't fucking complex and you would have to be a massive fucking moron to think it's more complicated than that. Some of the people arguing the loudest about this have already stated they don't watch the show and haven't read the books, so they are completely ignorant of the spoiler filled nature of this story. It's a major part of it, and everyone who read the books knows that and even if they don't care about spoilers themselves the fact that many people do care is plainly obvious.

The enforcement from a mod perspective is complex as hell and probably impossible, though Something Awful is handling it just fine, but stop pretending you can't understand what a spoiler is.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:27 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Xxx Xxxx's parents is one of those (unresolved) mysteries.

Someone probably considers that a spoiler.

You posted "torrent or STFU" as a response to people concerned about spoilers in thread about spoilers but you don't actually know what a spoiler is?

Here's the original comment by PeterMcDermott. There's considerably more going on in that comment than you're portraying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You posted "torrent or STFU" as a response to people concerned about spoilers in thread about spoilers but you don't actually know what a spoiler is?

I'll repeat what I wrote:

It occurs to me that I don't even know what a spoiler is.

Is it a comment that reveals a plot point in a story? I always thought it was a notice to let people know that such a thing was coming.


Which bit of that did you not understand?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:27 AM on June 15, 2011


Somebody once bitched at me on Metafilter because I made a reference to the ending of Easy fucking Rider.

Damn thing is over 35 years old, but we can't talk about it because somebody still hasn't seen it yet.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:36 AM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


if a thread is about a TV show, talking about plot points that haven't aired yet is a spoiler. So mark it. This isn't fucking complex and you would have to be a massive fucking moron to think it's more complicated than that.

This is basically what we are talking about. Some people asked for clarification of what a spoiler is and other people are explaining it. Jumping in calling people "massive fucking morons" is beyond the pale not okay. Maybe you're referring to some people and not to others, but the Game of Thrones stuff [a TV show that is airing now about a book series that came out almost a decade ago] is, in fact complex and it's worth understanding what the general hive mind feeling is on spoilers about something like this.

As you can see from the huge number of threads on this topic, the question of what constitutes a spoiler is, in fact "fucking complex" and while it may be perfectly clear to you in your own mind, it's not clear to other people. Providing a space where people can hash out these details is a lot easier if people feel they can ask questions without people calling them massive fucking morons.

I am sorry grumpy people are grumpy, an I'm sorry for whatever made them that way, especially if what made them grumpy is this website. However, MeTa needs to not be a toxic sludge pit of people acting out their bad moods and their bad days on each other and we'll keep popping in with civil reminders to people about that point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 AM on June 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Someone probably considers that a spoiler.

If that's the bar, then it's an awfully low one.

That information has (so far) no material effect on the plot, but is brought up in the first chapter of the books, and in the first episode of the show. What was posted in the thread was speculative, not revelatory of any future develpments.

If that's off limits, then there's almost no place for me in those threads.
posted by bonehead at 8:48 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If that's the bar, then it's an awfully low one.

That's the point, what you consider awfully low might be a big deal to another.

I've only seen the first episode, never read the books, but the implied future conversation between Jon and his fater hints at it being meaningful to Jon which could influence the plot or their relationship with other characters. Now you've inadvertently let me know that mystery doesn't come to anything. I'm fine with that and don't think bad of you for mentioning the information. I'm reading the thread of my own free will and all that.

But if Ione did care about learning advance information for Game of Thrones who's to say where the bar of knowledge is. To you it's not a big plot point, to another it might be a big deal 'cause the relish process of learning the story on their own. It comes down to different expectations for entertainment and that's hard to police in a global medium like Metafilter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:06 AM on June 15, 2011


Jessamyn - your rebuke their seems awfully one sided. If you really think that, per cortex, this is something we should thrash out for ourselves how is that going to work when anyone who raises itcan be called "assholes who like to tell people how they can and can't post" with apparent mod approval whilst the other side of the argument gets shut down? I think you should also consider how much mod messaging along the lines of "We don't intervene in anything to do with spoilers, you should sort it out for yourselves - but really your stupid to care about them." has contributed to the toxicity of the threads.
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


when anyone who raises itcan be called "assholes who like to tell people how they can and can't post" with apparent mod approval

Let it be noted that this particular response was elicited in reaction to one specific asshole who was explicitly calling me a liar.

If I were you, I'd be ramping my rhetoric down, not up. Because if I were a mod, you'd be looking at some banhammer time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:31 AM on June 15, 2011


Note quote replying, because this is to everyone. You can discuss whatever you want. I'm not saying you can't discuss books in a TV show thread, or Owl Creek Bridge, or whatever. But, if you think that whatever you're about to post could possibly, reasonably affect or diminish someone's enjoyment of the piece (consider, if you will, if you were in their should), just call attention to that fact with a simple spoiler warning.

Yes, spoilers are different things to different people. Simply knowing there was a twist in The Sixth Sense was enough for me to figure out what was going on (not that I cared). But if there seems to be two sides here, it's one side who says, "Hey, you're reading, it's your fault if you're spoiled," and one that says, "Give me a warning if you're going to spoil me." I'm pretty sure there's some common ground for compromise here. The spoiler-averse have to realize there are going to be spoilers (is this a problem for anyone still reading this thread? No? Good). It's up to them to make an effort not to read stuff that might spoil them. Yes, that can be hard, exercising self-restraint. The spoiler-agnostic here should similarly make a good-faith effort to mark spoilers. Yes, typing "SPOILER" or some variation on it can be tedious, it's a whole seven letters. No, you're never going to be able to predict what's a spoiler to every person. As long as one side agrees to be conscientious, the other side has to agree to not be crybabies about it.

Capisce?
posted by Eideteker at 9:32 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you really think that, per cortex, this is something we should thrash out for ourselves how is that going to work when anyone who raises itcan be called "assholes who like to tell people how they can and can't post" with apparent mod approval whilst the other side of the argument gets shut down?

A few people have acted like jerks about this in current and past discussions. I think it sucks that those people are acting like jerks about it. We try not to just constantly holler at people when we think they're acting like jerks because that would be more combative than we really want to be and would be tiring besides.

The bar for "apparent mod approval", in metatalk especially but on the site in general, needs to be a lot higher than "anything that doesn't get explicitly shouted at or deleted" if this site isn't supposed to be just Team Mod's personal blog. People act badly here sometimes, people tell each other that their behavior sucks, and sometimes boorishness goes largely unremarked because people collective roll their eyes at it and move on.

I think you should also consider how much mod messaging along the lines of "We don't intervene in anything to do with spoilers, you should sort it out for yourselves - but really your stupid to care about them." has contributed to the toxicity of the threads.

For god's sake, we haven't told anyone they're stupid to care about spoilers. You are reading shit into what we are saying that is not there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you should also consider how much mod messaging along the lines of "We don't intervene in anything to do with spoilers, you should sort it out for yourselves - but really your stupid to care about them." has contributed to the toxicity of the threads.

We have said, explicitly, that this is not our mod message. We do not think anyone is stupid. We do not think people who care about spoilers are stupid. We are sympathetic to people whose enjoyment of things has been messed with because of spoilers.

However, our personal feelings towards people are somewhat different from our sitewide enforceable policies which are created spefcifically because we can't just have a feelings-based approach to how to run a community website.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:50 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My spoilers to media strategy goes like this:

1) Hear about a show.
2) Figure out if the show might be interesting. If not, terminate. Otherwise, proceed to Step 3.
3) Wait until the show is canceled, skipping all topics relating to the show. Note: This prevents me from getting attached, then crushed when it is all over.
4) Wait more, such that I forget all show-relevant information.
5) Wait until there is some kind of box set available. Note: There's no point in getting it if I cannot get the whole thing. Also, if I remember it at this point, it is probably good.
6) Wait a little longer, so the box set is available for cheap. This is just me being cheap.
7) Buy.
8) Gorge.

It leaves me way out of the loop, but I have stopped kidding myself that I will ever be in the loop.

I might be checking out that Sopranos show soon. Heard it's good.
posted by adipocere at 9:50 AM on June 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


Jessamyn - your rebuke their seems awfully one sided. If you really think that, per cortex, this is something we should thrash out for ourselves how is that going to work when anyone who raises itcan be called "assholes who like to tell people how they can and can't post" with apparent mod approval whilst the other side of the argument gets shut down? I think you should also consider how much mod messaging along the lines of "We don't intervene in anything to do with spoilers, you should sort it out for yourselves - but really your stupid to care about them." has contributed to the toxicity of the threads.

Can you actually link to the comments where any mod actually said this? Where, exactly, did jessamyn et al. tell you you're stupid to care about spoilers? Your interpretations of what they've said are so wildly at odds with what the words they've typed on this screen actually are, and seem to be so deliberately obtuse, that I'm having a very, very difficult time giving you the benefit of the doubt.

The "other side" (no-spoilers-please) has not been shut down. Mods have asked people to be thoughtful and respectful when discussing ongoing/brand-new TV shows and movies and books in threads about those things. I don't understand how that is "shutting down" the other side.
posted by rtha at 9:52 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have said, explicitly, that this is not our mod message. We do not think anyone is stupid. We do not think people who care about spoilers are stupid. We are sympathetic to people whose enjoyment of things has been messed with because of spoilers.

I see it there every time you say "we don't do that kind of discussion" or "people don't really consider it a problem" or "just don't read that thread" - and as i say, I don't believe I'm the only one who sees those comments that way.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


now I think a good proportion of you are spitefull and untrustworthy and may well post spoilers just to prove some point

and then

Jessamyn - your rebuke their seems awfully one sided. If you really think that, per cortex, this is something we should thrash out for ourselves how is that going to work when anyone who raises itcan be called "assholes who like to tell people how they can and can't post" with apparent mod approval whilst the other side of the argument gets shut down? I think you should also consider how much mod messaging along the lines of "We don't intervene in anything to do with spoilers, you should sort it out for yourselves - but really your stupid to care about them." has contributed to the toxicity of the threads.

You know, it looks to me like it's the "nothing should ever be spoiled" crowd that's acting spiteful here. Ya'll are the ones who first whipped out the name calling (including "assholes" and "massive fucking morons").

Again, I'm vaguely prospoiler, in that I kind of like stuff to be spoiled for me, because I'm obsessive and enthusiastic and impatient. But I harbor no ill-will toward people who feel differently, do my best not to ruin your fun and I'd appreciate if people would stop with the frigging spiteful name calling. It feels shitty. And I think it's done a lot more to make things toxic about this subject than pretty much anything else has.

Also, I hate that we're having yet another discussion about this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:08 AM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I see it there every time you say "we don't do that kind of discussion" or "people don't really consider it a problem" or "just don't read that thread"

That is a problem between you and your personal higher power and/or internal wiring. We do not call people stupid and we do not think people are stupid for feeling the way they are feeling. We do require people to discuss things civilly on the site.

Insisting that we mean things other than what we say--when we take great pains to explain what we're saying over and over again--is not helping this discussion and it is getting to the point where it's getting in the way of it in some cases.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:15 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I see it there every time you say "we don't do that kind of discussion" or "people don't really consider it a problem" or "just don't read that thread" - and as i say, I don't believe I'm the only one who sees those comments that way.

Which comments? I have control-f'd for the phrases you have in quotes, and you are the first person to use them.
posted by rtha at 10:31 AM on June 15, 2011

I see it there every time you say "we don't do that kind of discussion" or "people don't really consider it a problem" or "just don't read that thread"...
Then maybe you should work on your reading comprehension, because none of those things are synonyms with "anyone who cares about this is stupid."

Enforcing the sort of behavior you want to see is somewhere between impractical and impossible. In addition, your preference is not universally held and many people who do share your preference don't hold it as strongly as you do. This doesn't make you stupid, or wrong. It does mean that nobody is going to enforce the behavior you want to see.

One of the other places I hang out is way more of a 'boyzone' than Metafilter is. (Seriously try superhero tabletop roleplaying for a narrow demographic.) When I'm there, I'd sure like to see people be a ton less sexist, and I do a certain amount of pushing to change the default culture there. But I also get told that extensive discussions of that sort of thing is off-topic, and it's pretty clear almost nobody is bothered by it as much as I am. I am sure as heck neither wrong, stupid, nor an asshole for disliking sexist behavior, and my fellow mods there who disagree with me about where the bar should be set aren't calling me that when they disagree with me. At some point, I either have to deal with cultural behaviors I don't like, or decide that's not the community for me.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:36 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Then maybe you should work on your reading comprehension, because none of those things are synonyms with "anyone who cares about this is stupid."

They're all very dismissive, especially when "you should avoid that thread" was dropped in multiple times in a row in response to discussions of situations where that didn't really work as a fix. Combine that with the elaborate concern for anyone who so much as hiccuped about Rot13 that was going on at the time, and the later 300+ comment thread calling me every name under the sun without any attempt to reign that in, and yeah, I am seeing a definite slant here from the mod team, Jessamyn in particular. I'd love not to think that about our mods but that is what I'm getting, and as i say it trickles down into the rest of the discussion.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2011


Sorry, what is the 300+ comment thread are you referring to, Artw?
posted by neuromodulator at 10:58 AM on June 15, 2011


SPOILER: ALL OF THEM.
posted by Eideteker at 10:59 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This one.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on June 15, 2011


They're all very dismissive, especially when "you should avoid that thread"

For crying out loud will you stop putting things in quotes as if you're quoting what people - mods especially - actually said when what you're doing is completely not that. If you're going to take issue with what they have said to you at least have the courtesy to use the words they have actually used.
posted by rtha at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're all very dismissive

Not liking the answer we're giving you doesn't mean we're being dismissive. Being dismissive would have saved us a tremendous amount of time and energy and required a hell of a lot less patience than trying to respond at length and with care about why despite us hearing where you're coming from we continue to disagree on some points.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:04 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only way you're gonna make this work is to have a special thread for every single individual episode. In addition to that, you have a special thread for every episode and on top of that, have a section for noobs to the entire series who didn't read the books, vs. those who did. So you have Ep 1 NO SPOILERS BEYOND IT FOR NOOBS, Ep 1 FOR BOOK READERS, Ep 2 NO SPOILERS FOR NOOBS, Ep 2 FOR BOOK READERS... blah blah blah.

Except for the part where Metafilter is not a TV-themed blog and isn't intended for that sort of thing.

I think what this boils down to here is: go elsewhere for your GoT chat. I'm sure there's gotta be sites somewhere that do exactly this. But I don't have any interest in this series (unless someone just excerpts the Peter Dinklage bits only on YouTube), so I'm not gonna find 'em for you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:05 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have now watched 2nd episode. GoT is like True Blood (whose 4th season beings June 26), but with more clothing, less accents and Lafayette is shorter, whiter and more educated. About the same amounts of sex, violence and nudity though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2011


It leaves me way out of the loop, but I have stopped kidding myself that I will ever be in the loop.

I watched all the seasons of LOST in one season (I caught up for the second half of the final season).

I watched all of The Wire, Rome, Carnivàle, and Deadwood all in one go. Same with Sopranos, Buffy, Angle, Farscape, Stargate, and Smallville.

I do this with shows all the time. I like to think of them as really long movies.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:50 AM on June 15, 2011


but with more clothing...the same amounts of sex

So they do it while dressed?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:51 AM on June 15, 2011


So they do it while dressed?

In those first two episodes, it does seem to be a thing. No time for getting lost in the moment, just runt and run.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:58 AM on June 15, 2011


or rut, sort of.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:05 PM on June 15, 2011


I think what this boils down to here is: go elsewhere for your GoT chat.

I was going to say this, too. The Onion AV club helpfully offers two separate review sections, one for readers of the books and one for people who only know the show, and they try to police spoilers. I don't know how diligent they are in GoT threads, but they're pretty good for the shows I do follow. (Bow ties are cool!)

It's a big Internet. There's no reason MetaFilter has to be all things to all people.
posted by mordax at 12:05 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


After thinking about it some more, I'd have to say that the MetaFilter one-big-conversation setup--with moderation of comments after the fact rather than pre-approval of comments, and with a large and active community--makes it difficult or impossible to prevent spoilers from leaking into threads.

(The ReelViews discussion forums have a specific spoiler tag which works really well, much better than ROT13--but it's a relatively small community. Example.)

So the advice to avoid MetaFilter threads about a story entirely (when you're only partway through the story) makes a lot of sense.

If I make an FPP in the future which deals with any kind of story (novel, movie, TV series), my plan is to include "[Possible spoilers for X]" at the very beginning. Even if the FPP material doesn't include spoilers, it's quite likely that spoilers will be mentioned in the subsequent discussion.

Besides the Onion AV club, there's also a spoiler-free discussion area on HboForum.
posted by russilwvong at 12:07 PM on June 15, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: "No time for getting lost in the moment, just runt and run."

Everyone loves Tyrion.
posted by Drastic at 12:08 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


BB, like you, in the beginning GoT seemed rife with sexism to me. I was a little put off in the beginning by the way some women were being treated. But we are talking about a time period where land ownership and titles were conveyed through patriarchal lines, so if follows that the women don't have equal status to the men.

And, as the series progresses, we learn the ways some of the women manage to make even such an imbalanced system work for them. Some who weren't born into titles deliberately turn to prostitution as a means to control their own destinies. Well-born girls, married off to create political alliances for their families, still manage to manipulate from behind the scenes.

And a few, like Aiya, refuse to accept that status quo and forge a completely new path for themselves.
posted by misha at 12:14 PM on June 15, 2011


But we are talking about a time period where land ownership and titles were conveyed through patriarchal lines, so if follows that the women don't have equal status to the men.

Sure. Everyone was sexist and racist in those times. That said, it is fiction, so it doesn't have to racist or sexist, there's a choice made there, whether the storytellers realize it or not.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:35 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, it is fiction, so it doesn't have to racist or sexist, there's a choice made there, whether the storytellers realize it or not.

There is, of course, a difference between work that depicts racism and sexism, and work that is itself racist and sexist. Hopefully GoT is the former, but not the latter. I don't know, because I haven't read or watched any of it yet. SO DON'T SPOIL IT YOU DOUCHENOZZLES.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really have a dog in this fight - and I'm not really known for being a cheerleader for any particular point of view around here.*

I just wanted to say to Artw that the mod position on this seems really reasonable and patiently laid out, and to remind him that while it might feel like he's being persecuted here, that really isn't the case, honestly, and I guess I hope that he can re-read some of the comments about The Position on spoilers that have been made with a cooler head and, you know, like chill?

* If history has taught us anything, it is that, of all the sports that do not require cheerleaders, dog-fighting is amongst the most prominent.
posted by Jofus at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]



if a thread is about a TV show, talking about plot points that haven't aired yet is a spoiler. So mark it. This isn't fucking complex and you would have to be a massive fucking moron to think it's more complicated than that.

This is basically what we are talking about. Some people asked for clarification of what a spoiler is and other people are explaining it. Jumping in calling people "massive fucking morons" is beyond the pale not okay. Maybe you're referring to some people and not to others, but the Game of Thrones stuff [a TV show that is airing now about a book series that came out almost a decade ago] is, in fact complex and it's worth understanding what the general hive mind feeling is on spoilers about something like this.

As you can see from the huge number of threads on this topic, the question of what constitutes a spoiler is, in fact "fucking complex" and while it may be perfectly clear to you in your own mind, it's not clear to other people. Providing a space where people can hash out these details is a lot easier if people feel they can ask questions without people calling them massive fucking morons.

I am sorry grumpy people are grumpy, an I'm sorry for whatever made them that way, especially if what made them grumpy is this website. However, MeTa needs to not be a toxic sludge pit of people acting out their bad moods and their bad days on each other and we'll keep popping in with civil reminders to people about that point.


Yeah, it's actually not remotely complicated. If the thread is about the TV show, spoilers are unaired content for the show. You wouldn't ACTUALLY be confused about if you were spoiling someone or not when you took them to a movie you read the books for and explained the whole plot while getting your popcorn (because you aren't a fucking dumbass), this is just Metafilter being Metafilter and looking for an imaginary fight.

I can understand you can't do the moderating on spoilers right because this is a general discussion forum and you can't possibly know what is and is not a spoiler for every topic, but the definition of a spoiler is not some arcane secret.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:47 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure. Everyone was sexist and racist in those times. That said, it is fiction, so it doesn't have to racist or sexist, there's a choice made there, whether the storytellers realize it or not.

The books are intentionally, willfully, bleakly condemnatory of the general tropish whitewashing of schlocky high fantasy; there's racism and sexism and all kinds of iniquity and horridness and bad human behavior throughout in large part because Martin's intent is to paint a world that is as capable of being banally fucked up as the one we actually live in. The book series to date is, all else aside, a rejection of the idea that you can replace all the bad stuff in life with chivalry and dragons and rudimentary moral philosophies.

Compressing that for television in a way that effectively communicates that bleak intent while still making for effective screen drama that matches the general expectations of HBO's constituency seems like a hard problem; my impression having seen the first two episodes so far is that they're doing a pretty good job of it but that, as always, it's trickier to really put across the subtleties when you've got no internal monologue or omniscient observer's voice to help paint the scene or convey mental state.

I'm curious to see how the rest of the season plays out as I catch up, but I think it's probably a mistake to draw too many conclusions about the attitudes of the work or its creators this early in what is fundamentally a slow-burning subversion of traditional fantasy narratives; they're still introducing the basic character and subplot stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:51 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't know that the sexism of the show can be defended as like "part of the setting" when every HBO show has added lesbian sub-plots. I love HBO programming, but I kinda wish they could stop sexin' everything up all the time. I'm not opposed to sexin' stuff up in general, but it really feels pretty gratuitous.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:02 PM on June 15, 2011


I avoided the GoT thread yesterday afternoon, because I hadn't watched Sunday's episode yet. I think it's perfectly reasonable for people to discuss what happened in the TV show in a thread about the TV show, if it's already been broadcast. It's up to me to catch up and avoid the thread until I do.

Watched Sunday's GoT last night, checked out the thread, and found that it had info from the books about things that haven't happened in the TV show yet. Posting those spoilers without warning in there was unfair to those of us catching up on the story through the TV series. The show, and presumably the books, have demonstrated that anyone can die at any time. Can folks truly not understand why others may have an objection to knowing that a specific character is around in book 3 if they're watching series 1?

As for this thread, the spoilery spoiler posted upthread doesn't give any detail away, but was still more info than I wanted. Bringing that sort of thing into a discussion about spoilers may not have been malicious, but it was certainly inconsiderate.
posted by IanMorr at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


the definition of a spoiler is not some arcane secret.

Quite aside from your willful insistence on insulting people you don't agree with, you're wrong. What you would be correct in saying is that some instances of "spoiling" are not difficult to parse. Your cherry-picked example is a great one for that. However these discussion frequently turn on whether or not any revealing of something that others may not know would constitute a spoiler. There are those here who argue that revealing the ending of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, a short story first published in 1890, constitutes a spoiler. This is, obviously, a very different example from your convenient one. It's much more difficult for people of all intelligence levels to agree on whether it is, in fact, a spoiler.

I'm sure it was a failure of imagination on your part, and not of intelligence, that caused you to overlook the hard instances in favor of pat insults.
posted by OmieWise at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the thread is about the TV show, spoilers are unaired content for the show.

This touches on something that was a source of great contention in the last spoiler meTa: unaired content to whom?

If I go into a thread about a particular, current TV show, I don't necessarily know that the episode(s) under discussion won't air for an hour or a week or a month in someone else's time zone or broadcast jurisdiction. While it's dickish to deliberately be all "Oh yeah well in Book 2, the TV series for which has not yet been aired, So-and-So dies!", it's really not as easy as you say it is to avoid "spoilers" about, for instance, episode 2 of TV Show, which I saw yesterday in my home country at its original-to-me broadcast time, because I'm not psychic enough to know that they are spoilers to you, living in a place where it won't be broadcast for another week/month/etc.
posted by rtha at 1:05 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your cherry-picked example

...It was lucky for me I cherry picked an example that exactly matched the entertainment product under discussion! Thank Jebus!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:10 PM on June 15, 2011


...It was lucky for me I cherry picked an example that exactly matched the entertainment product under discussion! Thank Jebus!

Then it was unlucky that you made categorical statements from that specific example.
posted by OmieWise at 1:12 PM on June 15, 2011


Me: Game of Thrones is a spoiler heavy series, it is more sensitive to these issues than most because of that

I've actually been saying this is a unique case.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:14 PM on June 15, 2011


I don't know that the sexism of the show can be defended as like "part of the setting" when every HBO show has added lesbian sub-plots. I love HBO programming, but I kinda wish they could stop sexin' everything up all the time. I'm not opposed to sexin' stuff up in general, but it really feels pretty gratuitous.

Yeah, I think that's the hardest thing to really draw a clear line on as far as authorial intent, because on the one hand the sex in the show so far is all sex from the book and I'm not sure all the sex from the book has been kept for the show, but on the other hand you're compressing the story so much that with all the stuff getting cut, giving full due attention to the naked-and-rutting bits is clearly a tactical decision. It's bound to come off a bit Tudors-y no matter what the intent is or how faithful the rutting is to the source material.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on June 15, 2011


The books are intentionally, willfully, bleakly condemnatory of the general tropish whitewashing of schlocky high fantasy; there's racism and sexism and all kinds of iniquity and horridness and bad human behavior throughout in large part because Martin's intent is to paint a world that is as capable of being banally fucked up as the one we actually live in.

Heh, so it's a grim and gritty reboot of the fantasy genre?

Otherwise, showing a world that's as banally screwed up as this was doesn't sound exactly like fun, particularly with GoT/HBO's leering sexism and possible racism. Been there, done that, though not the degree that GoT has started out as. Watching a brother literally whore out his sister for his own gain is something that has probably occurred but does one really need to see the intimate details of it? I can pass on that sort of thing.

But I've only watched two episodes and it's clear they're developing more nuance with the story arches and characters, so it's worth sticking around for now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:25 PM on June 15, 2011


Let me add, the ability of the mods here to adjust to unique cases is, in my opinion, what makes them great. I'm glad Cortex understands the series and will be able to handle severe violations of spoiler etiquette. I've seen other mods on other forums reading the books just so they can police the threads on this series. That would make no sense for a forum without permanent threads for it, but still pretty cool.

I'm just saying, this issue is not going away. This series is here to stay. Forums with permanent threads can make separate threads and keep book/show apart, we can't do that here. It is vital for the enjoyment of the people getting the story through HBO that those of us who read the books treat them with respect and use warnings, and the mods need to help out too when they can.

If you are unsure, err on the side of caution! Game of Thrones iis, as I distinctly said, a unique type of show. Any extensive use of spoiler protection does not suggest sitewide policy, okay?

Figure out how to do this right, yeah, but don't tell me you are confused about it being a good idea to drop plot points that are 4000 pages away on people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:25 PM on June 15, 2011

Yeah, it's actually not remotely complicated. If the thread is about the TV show, spoilers are unaired content for the show.
It's more complicated than you think. For example, many networks show a little trailer for the next episode after the credits. If I post "OMG!!! Character X is coming back next week!!" after seeing that, have I committed a spoiler? How about if I read in the tabloid that Actress X is pregnant. "Oooh - the character played by Actress X probably won't be in episodes 10 or 11 - they'll be filmed when she's due." Have I committed a spoiler? How about if I recognize that a character is really blatantly an homage to Achilles. "So, Character Y is about due to pitch a fit and miss a major battle." Have I committed a spoiler?

I ask because I've been yelled at in the past for examples of each of these, at the time never thinking that someone would be upset by the discussion of obviously non-spoiling content.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:26 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]




It's quick and easy, err on the side of caution with this series!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:29 PM on June 15, 2011


Well, Karmakaze, I'm not really expressing an opinion about how people should behave here (because I don't really have one), but just as a datapoint for you I never watch those "next episode trailers" because they often involve clumsy reveals of interesting events (what with, you know, trying to get you to watch). So I personally would be kind of annoyed - but I also recognize that I'm pretty anal when it comes to spoilery stuff.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:30 PM on June 15, 2011


Otherwise, showing a world that's as banally screwed up as this was doesn't sound exactly like fun

Heh. Fair, although it's worth noting that "fun" is not a word I've ever heard many people to describe the books. It's fun like Dostoevsky, fun like a trainwreck. But it's also just goddamned compelling storytelling if you're down with bleak.

And, yeah, part of the thing with a comeuppance (not that Martin is generous with those, but neither are they wholly absent from the story) is that you kind of have to set shit up before you can knock it down.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:34 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's why I listed post-episode teasers first. I was going from (in my opinion) most reasonably considered spoiling to least. My point, though, was that not everyone draws the line in the same place, even if they do consider themselves spoiler-avoidant.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:34 PM on June 15, 2011


Preview stuff is legitimately nuanced, because they are deceptive most of the time, but I would still put it in a spoiler warning just because it's simple and easy and a lot of people do care.

However, that is something that has been deliberately aired to the viewer by the storytellers, it doesn't really have much to do with legitimate spoilers. IIRC, You knew the end of episode 9 if you read previous Metafilter threads about the show, and that is something so far off in degree that it's hard to compare the two.

But this is why we use warnings, that puts the decision in the hand of the reader who is the only one who knows if they want to take the risk.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:38 PM on June 15, 2011


It's quick and easy, err on the side of caution with this series!

That's decidedly reasonable, and as such, convincing. No insults required.
posted by OmieWise at 1:39 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


FUCK YOU
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:39 PM on June 15, 2011


DON'T YOU GO AGREEING WITH ME WHEN I'M GRUMPY!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:40 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I see what you did there.
posted by OmieWise at 1:42 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


something that has been deliberately aired to the viewer by the storytellers

I'm not crystal clear on whether or not you're still talking about the "next week on..." stuff, but my take is that, no, they aren't. They're deliberately aired to the viewer by the marketers, and they often have wholly different agendas than the storytellers. That's the problem.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:49 PM on June 15, 2011


In TV, it's all the same. HBO is the storyteller, not George. George R.R. Martin has published a lot of preview chapters himself...or did his publisher make that call?

Are they spoilers?

Well, we could debate it, but in the meantime use the warnings because a ton of people feel they are. There just isn't that much nuance here no matter how anyone tries to force it, when in doubt use the spoiler tags. If you get called out on not using them, even if you think it's a bad call-out, ask the mods to edit the post to add them because it is just common courtesy.



Have I seriously read the word "censor" in this thread over this kind of thing?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:55 PM on June 15, 2011


jessamyn: There is a conflict between having this desire and wanting to interact with people on MetaFilter, a community that does not have hiding spoilers as a core value.

I didn't really expect to be told not to use the site if I didn't want to be spoiled and I didn't really expect that was what the mod team actually had at heart. Guess this is goodbye, MeFi.
posted by flatluigi at 1:56 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't really expect to be told not to use the site if I didn't want to be spoiled and I didn't really expect that was what the mod team actually had at heart.

I am trying to be honest and to set expectations accurately. You can not remain "completely unspoiled" (your term) and read MeFi in a casual way. This is the same thing we would tell people who never want to read a racial slur or never want to see something that is NSFW. We can not pre-emptively control for those sorts of things, they sometimes happen. If what you desire is to remain completely unspoiled and to read MetaFilter those two desires conflict with each other and the way the site is run.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:03 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't really expect to be told not to use the site if I didn't want to be spoiled and I didn't really expect that was what the mod team actually had at heart. Guess this is goodbye, MeFi.

That's an extreme way to take jessamyn's statement, especially given that she was responding specifically to someone asking the question, "Is there a fundamental issue with wanting to be completely unspoiled?"

If you expect to be able to participate in a Metafilter thread about a piece of media, and yet remain completely unspoiled about that very piece of media, then I'm sorry, but that's impossible. There is no way for any of the mods to guarantee that you will not be spoiled, because they cannot read your mind and do not know exactly what you would consider a spoiler for any given creative work.

Frankly, even on the Onion A.V. Game of Thrones posts devoted to newbies, they have a devil of a time keeping spoilers out of the comments. And those comments are moderated so heavily that they often do not have time to write and post the "experts" posts until a couple of days later.

If you're looking for that level of moderation, maybe it's best that you create and moderate a forum in the way that you'd prefer.
posted by palomar at 2:05 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is asking to be free of all spoilers, that can't be done. There is asking that mods make an effort to clear out spoilers as quick as possible or edit in a warning, that can be done.

If you want to be pure as snow, you can't do it no matter how hard the mods work. People spoil this show for sport. But we can do a reasonable job of putting stuff in tags so most people are safe, it's not too much to ask.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:10 PM on June 15, 2011


Sorry for being grumpy earlier, but for real I don't want to live in a world where this guy knew what was gonna be happening before he saw it and I love these books so I get angry about this shit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:22 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is asking to be free of all spoilers, that can't be done. There is asking that mods make an effort to clear out spoilers as quick as possible or edit in a warning, that can be done.

We're available for when something is going wrong with a thread, but part of the tension of these discussions has been that we're not planning to change the scope of what we will and won't do as far as spoiler management.

People can flag or drop us a line if someone does something shitty with an intentional spoiler; folks putting a "SPOILER..." warning on their own comment if they want to do that is generally fine, or contacting us to ask for a quick delete or something if they are having a one-off moment of commentor's regret. We know the occasional weird situation comes up, folks letting us know about that sort of thing is okay regardless of what the outcome ends up being.

We are not going to get into the business of editing people's comments unilaterally or of nixing a lot more stuff in general. We will continue to encourage people to try and be thoughtful about what they post, and we will continue to caution spoiler-phobic readers to take care and know the risks that come with mefi not being a spoiler-free zone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:23 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


At the bottom line, if you don't want to be spoiled don't use the site. I'm okay with that, but you should stop jumping on people who say it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:27 PM on June 15, 2011


Also, don't answer the phone.

"Hello?"
"HeywhatsupHermionediesandtheBruinswinthestanleycup."
"Nooo!"

posted by ODiV at 2:30 PM on June 15, 2011


Am I confused there, Cortex? If I posted what happens to Robb with no spoiler warnings in a thread focused on the TV show, you would not unilaterally edit in the warnings no matter how many flags?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:31 PM on June 15, 2011


As far as I'm aware, the mods edit comments as little as possible. They would either likely nix your comment or leave it as written.
posted by ODiV at 2:33 PM on June 15, 2011


We just plain don't unilaterally edit comments period. I can think of a famous exception where the edit was basically an unindictably correct move and even that led to shitty Metatalk drama.

We're certainly not going to make an exception specifically for spoiler management. Not because we're not sympathetic, but because it's something we totally do not ever do.

To be clear, if someone is like "ha ha fuckers, suck major spoiler, lol u mad?", I'd expect it to get a bunch of flags and for someone to probably drop us a line saying "uh this was a real shitbag malicious move right here, help" and it'd get deleted. People discussing in good faith and saying stuff that other people feel is too spoilery is a much greyer area than those sorts of rare malicious fuckery moves, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:37 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know the mod style here, and I like it, if spoilers won't be edited/deleted that's fine but I just want to know what the policy is.

If I go into a thread and I know the mods here are on the case on doing some reasonable spoiler control, I'll take the chance and read it knowing that the mistakes the mods here make are rare and generally understandable.

If there is no enforcement, obviously I'll just avoid the threads in question.

As I said before, there is a LOT to talk about in regards to how the moderation is done here which is why it was silly to spend so much time trying to define a spoiler in the first place.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:38 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, that is how you guys operate and I'm okay with it, but what flatluigi said above was a perfectly reasonable response to that policy. A lot of what Artw has said is perfectly reasonable in light of that policy.

Just tell people that spoilers are fair game and they will know what threads to avoid. You can't actually judge maliciousness, especially not with Game of Thrones, neither can the flaggers.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:41 PM on June 15, 2011


Putting myself in the mods' shoes I still don't even know how I'd reasonably judge whether something's an actual spoiler or not. Though I'd guess one (or some?) of the mods are following the series in this case? It's been said in here that what's a spoiler for Game of Thrones is cut and dried, but I personally wouldn't be able to tell and would have to trust the flags, which seems like a weird position to be in for a mod.
posted by ODiV at 2:48 PM on June 15, 2011


what flatluigi said above was a perfectly reasonable response to that policy. A lot of what Artw has said is perfectly reasonable in light of that policy.

We'll delete shitty malicious spoiler-posting that makes everyone angry. We won't delete stuff where someone hasn't watched last month's episode and is mad that someone mentioned something from it. Most things fall into a grey area. It is not our job to police spoilers and we don't have enough time, expertise or systems in place to do it well.

What flatluigi said was fine, however we were not saying "Okay leave, then" as opposed to "Your expectations are not in line with how this site operates" Some of the things Artw has said have been misrepresenting what others have said and what we've been patiently restating about how spoilers are dealt with. Whether that's intentional or accidental is an open question but the number of times we've had to say "That is NOT what we are saying" is exceeding my nearly limitless supply of patience.

I understand that to some people the phrases "You are wrong and are stupid for thinking that" and "That is incorrect" are very semantically similar, but in our lexicon they are not.

We are not on spoiler control except, as we've stated before

- egregious above-the-fold spoilers will be tucked inside by request
- spoiler warnings will be added to threads by request
- spoiler-bombing is discouraged and will be deleted like any other threadshitting

This should be old news to most people by now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:48 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just tell people that spoilers are fair game and they will know what threads to avoid.

This, along with "but please try not to be a jerk with spoilers", is basically exactly what we have been saying for literally years, and reiterating a lot recently in these conversations. And I think it's a bummer if that's a deal breaker for anyone, I honestly do, and I can dig it if flatluigi feels like he needs to take a break from mefi, but we're not in our hearts wishing people who dislike spoilers into the cornfield or anything.

What risks to take and what threads to read is just something that every mefite and metafilter reader needs to make on their own, and everybody is going to have a different take on that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:49 PM on June 15, 2011


Guys, I think you're talking past me. You know how to mod better than I do. The important thing is everyone knows the policy. What you are doing leaves room for me to drive through a mack truck of spoilers were I so inclined. That's fine, just let people know and keep in mind it's going to make some people walk away. There's no problem with that, the site isn't for everyone and the great moderation here comes with some trade off.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:56 PM on June 15, 2011


After numerous threads and countless mod comments on this topic, I have absolutely no idea how people are still failing to grasp the site policy on spoilers. No idea. Nor do I understand why people are still wasting their time talking about it. In case it's a language barrier, I'll translate for you:

jessamyn: Gurer vf abg n grpuabybtvpny fbyhgvba gung jr pbhyq rzcybl gung jbhyq xrrc crbcyr sebz orvat fcbvyrq, fb jr qb abg unir bar. Gung vf gur cbyvpl.
posted by gman at 3:07 PM on June 15, 2011


jessamyn: Gurer vf abg n grpuabybtvpny fbyhgvba gung jr pbhyq rzcybl gung jbhyq xrrc crbcyr sebz orvat fcbvyrq, fb jr qb abg unir bar. Gung vf gur cbyvpl.

"Unless we subjectively decide the spoilers are maliciously posted, they will remain. If you don't want to see spoilers, avoid threads on any story if you don't know how it ends."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:14 PM on June 15, 2011


You know what? The media threads are some of my favourite and most fun threads. If I'm going to be selectively barred from them then there's not a hell of a lot of point in me sticking around, and these threads have done a good job of erroding my enjoyment of the rest of the community, so I think I'll take a walk for a bit. Bye all.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Artw you blocked messages from me for something I (probably stupidly) said to you in the past and now I see you closed down the account but I just wanna say I can really see where you are coming from here but I like you so please stick around and just avoid threads that might spoil you going forward.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:30 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Unless we subjectively decide the spoilers are maliciously posted, they will remain. If you don't want to see spoilers, avoid threads on any story if you don't know how it ends."

Why misquote it that way? What is the point of doing so?
posted by rtha at 3:39 PM on June 15, 2011


I...don't think it's a misquote? It might be leading a bit, but the bottom line is that if spoilers are a part of legitmate discussion instead of a trolling attempt they will, and should, stay up?

I have no problem with that, my only quibble is that this has to be spelled out better. If you are a person who wants to avoid spoilers but still read about certain subjects online you take on some risk, I just want the level of risk here at Metafilter to be clearly and loudly spelled out for people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:42 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, that's a bummer, artw. I really think you're an awesome dude and post great threads. But I sure wish that this wasn't such a push-button issue for you, because I still do believe that there are ways for nerds like us to get along.

(I have purchased today something I've wanted since I was about thirteen--a sweatshirt that says "SPOILER WARNING." Now those I know IRL will be fully warned.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:43 PM on June 15, 2011


You offered what looked like a direct translation of rot13'd text, and the way you did it made it look as if that was what the rot13'd text said. And it isn't, though I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't already unrot13'd (de-rot13'd?) the original comment.

Having your own interpretation of what someone said is fine and natural and we all do it, and misunderstandings of what someone means when they say "Blahblahblah," also happens, and can be discussed. But when someone says "Blahblahblah" and someone else comes back in a pretty hostile fashion (not necessarily you here, furiousgeorge) and says "When you tell me "garblegarblegarble," well fuck you, man!" then I get the distinct impression that they're not interested in discussing or clearing up the misunderstanding so much as wanting to fight.

I probably jumped the gun with your de-rot13'd version of what gman wrote, because other people in this thread have behaved badly in using quotes when they're not really not quoting someone's actual words and in doing so put the worst possible spin on what the other person has said, and I apologize.
posted by rtha at 3:54 PM on June 15, 2011


Guise, if you want to be clearly understood, don't encrypt your text.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:58 PM on June 15, 2011


The difference in word lengths was a big clue for me.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:58 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


nalbar jub qvfnterrf jvgu zr be dhbgrf gur npphengr genafyngvba bs guvf grkg vf n encre bs puvyqera.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:01 PM on June 15, 2011


nalbar jub qvfnterrf jvgu zr be dhbgrf gur npphengr genafyngvba bs guvf grkg vf n encre bs puvyqera.

"Anyone who would like me to send them USD1,000 please memail me if you are interested."
posted by rtha at 4:18 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Cyrnfr, ubjrire, abgr gung cnlzrag jvyy or znqr va gur sbez bs onq fnepnfgvp bar yvaref.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:22 PM on June 15, 2011


Ok for real I did the rot-13 translate on the above:

There is not a technological solution that we could employ that would keep people from being spoiled, so we do not have one. That is the policy.


My "thought this was gibberish not rot-13" translation didn't get that, but I think it is closer to the actual mod position. They are legit okay with some forms of spoilers that are part of a discussion and not malicious.

That isn't hard to understand, there are all kinds of debates about books 2-4 I would love to get into with you guys, and I think the mods are okay with this. Unless I am misreading them (feel free to smack me down here I won't get grumpy) that kind of discussion is fine if it isn't malicious.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:26 PM on June 15, 2011


these threads have done a good job of erroding my enjoyment of the rest of the community, so I think I'll take a walk for a bit. Bye all.

Artw, your corrosive aggression and insane fightiness with people that dare to disagree with you have made the site much less pleasant for me for a long time, and it's astonishing that you're blaming the community for your own constant, derailing, passive-aggressive unpleasantness. In this thread alone you have dropped a series of deeply uncharitable turds on other peoples' heads, including on the mods, who have been incredibly patient in talking to you -- and now you have the gall to blame other people for the toxic atmosphere that you yourself created? I suppose you can add me to the list of spiteful (?), untrustworthy (??!) Mefites that you see around every corner.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 4:31 PM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Artw is pretty awesome and a notable and prolific mefi contributor with I shit you not more than 500 front page posts, I find it's pretty unpleasant that we lose him over a stupid issue of common courtesy. Courtesy is lame, I know, but it's what makes a website a community rather than a ghetto.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:41 PM on June 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


I find it's pretty unpleasant that we lose him over a stupid issue of common courtesy.

You have got to be kidding me. I cannot think of very many frequent contributors to this site who have exhibited less courtesy to their fellow mefites than him. The fact that he made many good fpps does not in any way excuse the fact that he is a bully and a toxic presence on this site.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 4:44 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, he's not a saint, I mentioned above he has me on mefi-mail ignore for one of my childish outbursts, but Artw is part of the cream of the crop around here. He just is. Plenty of interesting people have gone away since I've been around here, and the place is usually better for it, but I won't be happy when I see a generous, intelligent, witty voice like Artw fade away. It's a loss.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:48 PM on June 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I find it's pretty unpleasant that we lose him over a stupid issue of common courtesy

Nobody clicked "disable account" except for him. And the fact that discussing tv shows, for the love of all that's good and holy is enough to make him abusive and mean to people alludes to me that he probably spends too much time on the internet as is.
posted by smoke at 4:50 PM on June 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I agree dude, I think he left because the policy was not well spelled out, and we can fix that. He would not get mean and abusive if he knew Mefi was a spoiler friendly forum, and spoiler friendly forums are fine.

Just spell it out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:53 PM on June 15, 2011


Frobenius Twist, I'm not trying to be that guy, but Artw posts here all the time and will be missed; I'm not sure I've ever seen your name before, and while it's possible you would be missed by someone, it wouldn't be me. It's clear that you have a lot you have wanted to say to him for a long time, and I think it's really sad that you apparently only got around to saying it now, on the day that he deactivated his account and can't reply to you in any way, I mean I understand how frustrating that must be for you the way the stars aligned so unfairly, but maybe you should just chalk this one up as a loss and walk away.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:54 PM on June 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


can't reply to you in any way

It would take one email and probably ten minutes tops to reactivate his account.

selectively barred

That's such a huge misrepresentation of what's going on here it's unbelievable. If people aren't talking about television in a way that suits a particular member it counts as him being barred from the thread?
posted by ODiV at 5:07 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not trying to be that guy

But... "you won't be missed."
posted by proj at 5:08 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think we should add a spoiler tag and let the community figure out how and when to use it, but I also think the hyperbole of the anti-spoiler people is quite frankly borderline insane.
posted by empath at 5:15 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


while it's possible you would be missed by someone, it wouldn't be me.

I read Metafilter daily, and have for years even before I joined. By your standards, apparently the most important people here are not the readers, or the lurkers, but the shouty, belligerent, loud members. Given the fact that you're being a total asshole to me, I think I know exactly which camp you fall in.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 5:19 PM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Shouty, belligerant, loud...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:25 PM on June 15, 2011


I think he left because the policy was not well spelled out

The policy has been spelled out in every one of these dumb MeTas about it. You yourself spelled it out upthread. "Metafilter has no anti-spoiler policy. Don't be a dick to other users."
posted by graventy at 5:27 PM on June 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Belliger-ant fights the Ass-hopper in episode 7
posted by jtron at 5:29 PM on June 15, 2011


can i just say again that metafilter has my favorite moderation of any site, past or present. this isn't hyperbole. i've given it a lot of thought. i wish metafilter had been around when i was 15 (but i'm glad it wasn't because most of the logs are lost from my early days online).
posted by nadawi at 5:30 PM on June 15, 2011


I read Metafilter daily, and have for years even before I joined. By your standards, apparently the most important people here are not the readers, or the lurkers, but the shouty, belligerent, loud members. Given the fact that you're being a total asshole to me, I think I know exactly which camp you fall in.

Man, if you think this is what it looks like when I'm a total asshole to you, you may be in for a shock. This is me kind of looking at you and shaking my head and waving my hands back and forth and whispering, "no, no, no, no" like the weird old guy who's trying to keep the stupid kids from wandering into the Bad Woods in some cheesy '80s horror movie.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:34 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I, uh ... and this is embarrassing ... at one point during my somewhat insane Buffy fandom, when I was attempting to create a database schema that would allow you to accurately describe shows, weird shows such that Twin Peaks was a good pilot case, for the sake of continuity and such, spent some time trying to develop a side schema for spoilers, such that people could note things in forums without spoiling others who were at other points in the show. It became more and more convoluted until I realized that the only clear dividing line was between never having heard of the show and having heard of the show. After that, it just became increasingly complex, like that weekend in high school trying to find the roots of a quintic equation, where I kept using larger and larger sheets of paper, grouping equations and using other characters as shorthand, and ran through all of the characters in the Roman and Greek alphabets, eventually adding spirals and symbols from Zener cards because I had not heard of the Abel–Ruffini theorem, but I was hoping that at some point this would start simplifying down if I just did it long enough, but instead I ended up with some drawing pads filled with loops and loops of nonsense that looked like a crazy person who had seen some algebra once trying to derive an equation for the mind of God.

Trying to denote spoilers is almost exactly like that.
posted by adipocere at 5:40 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


It would be okay to not chew each other's faces off over the issue of Artw taking a break in full knowledge that he is welcome back whenever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:41 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think he left because the policy was not well spelled out,

Here is jessamyn's comment from the most recent meTa about spoilers, which ArtW posted. This is cortex's comment from this thread - the second comment in the thread.

What about those is unclear? ArtW's take on it was that spoilers are mandatory here. He disagreed with the policy, and chose to frame the policy as something that it patently is not. I hope he enjoys his time off and comes back when things are cooler.
posted by rtha at 5:47 PM on June 15, 2011


The site is poorer without Artw and I hope his break will be a short one.
posted by Trurl at 6:24 PM on June 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


This site will do just fine without Artw.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:34 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


What? Damnation, no Artw? Grar, this is terrible news. He always brought great stuff to the front page and was a blast to talk about comics with - two key elements for a MeFite, far as I'm concerned.

Hurry back, Artw. You're one of my favorite aspects of this place.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:47 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Few things make me lose respect for a member of this site more than when someone whines and huffs and then hits the Big Red Button. I honestly wish there was a period of, say, a year before you could reactivate your account.
posted by item at 7:09 PM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


It would be okay to not chew each other's faces off over the issue...

But it's giant size Xmen# 1, in mint condition! That's worth a few nibbles!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 PM on June 15, 2011


Few things make me lose respect for a member of this site more than when someone whines and huffs and then hits the Big Red Button.

Yeah, usually by the time they do hit it I am thinking good riddance. Flameouts suck. It's a weird thing to watch.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:32 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll miss Artw's posts and hope he comes back soon.

I stopped reading the GoT threads because although I'm ahead of the TV, I'm only on book 3 and already saw something that looked like it gave away plot I hadn't got to yet.
posted by arcticseal at 7:40 PM on June 15, 2011


I like adipocere's method, and often use it myself.

I've also been catching up on acclaimed shows now that stations have been syndicating them and/or playing them in the original order to get more people interested, as AMC has done with Breaking Bad. Apparently Brian Cranston's going to become a drug dealer!

And BBC America is running Battlestar Galactica in the original series order, too, so there's that. One of the blonde girls is a robot or something, and that teacher from Stand and Deliver is Lorne Greene? I don't really understand it yet, but I'm only two hours in.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:01 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


*hugs infinitywaltz*
posted by rtha at 9:14 PM on June 15, 2011


I will miss Artw. Came back to hit the red button and saw that he was gone, so I figure I'll stick around to argue for the anti-spoiler people despite the moderation policy. Maybe by the time he returns I'll have changed something.
posted by flatluigi at 9:16 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are going to be spoilers. Don't be a jerk and post them just to screw with people, and conversely, if someone accidentally spoils something for you, don't be a jerk about that, either, but try and give that person the benefit of the doubt. We're reasonable people, more or less. We can do this.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:25 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I figure I'll stick around to argue for the anti-spoiler people despite the moderation policy.

What, you have some new arguments that haven't already been made yet? Or do you just plan on replacing Artw as the petulant footstamper who whines incessantly because he can't get his own way?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:26 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


PeterMcDermott: "What, you have some new arguments that haven't already been made yet? Or do you just plan on replacing Artw as the petulant footstamper who whines incessantly because he can't get his own way?"

Is it the heat, do you suppose?
posted by boo_radley at 9:33 PM on June 15, 2011


That's ridiculous, flatluigi.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:58 PM on June 15, 2011


I'm perfectly happy with Metafilter's sound and well-articulated spoiler policy.

However, I happened to be in a bookstore a few years ago while Martin was giving a reading and a talk during his tour for book 3, and before he started, he pleaded at length with people who'd already read it not to give anything away to those who hadn't.

Surprised me, but he obviously thought the books were a lot better if you didn't know too much about them before reading.
posted by jamjam at 9:58 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> What, you have some new arguments that haven't already been made yet? Or do you just plan on replacing Artw as the petulant footstamper who whines incessantly because he can't get his own way?

But tell me how you really feel.


(If you've been following along with previous spoiler threads and aren't just threadshitting in this one because you've got an opportunity, you'd know I do have my own arguments, have shared them multiple times, and have tried my hardest to be reasonable and sane. But I'm sure you didn't know that.)

> That's ridiculous, flatluigi.

I know. It's not even funny. Timezones, man.
posted by flatluigi at 10:17 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I, also, will miss ArtW and hope he returns.

I do think he pushed the spoiler argument further than necessary, once it became clear what the site policy was, and that it wasn't going to change. And I say that as someone who agrees with his basic argument. I feel like the deliberate posting of spoilers in MeTa threads by people who disagreed with his arguments are maybe not our finest hour.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:15 AM on June 16, 2011


There are going to be spoilers. Don't be a jerk and post them just to screw with people, and conversely, if someone accidentally spoils something for you, don't be a jerk about that, either, but try and give that person the benefit of the doubt. We're reasonable people, more or less. We can do this.

^ This plan has my full, unqualified support.

Specifically with GoT, I've read the books and all the theory websites and have also been torrenting the episodes because I'm sure it'll be years before they air in Australia. But when I saw the Dinklage FPP, I assumed the thread would be about the show, not the books (whereas I've assumed any posts about GRRM to be about the books, not the show). I totally understand the excitement of people who've loved the books for ages and now get to share that with a wider audience - but that's what Tower of the Hand, Westeros.org and all the other fan sites are for. I'm not going to post about anything that hasn't happened in the show already, just as a courtesy.
posted by harriet vane at 12:21 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I honestly think that if the spoiler threads had showed up about the latest Bones episode, Dead Space 2, or Deathly Hallows 2 (maybe?), there would not have been this level of anger or grar over the topics regarding spoilers. But instead it is about things some very vocal people are passionate about, and somehow now the spoiler policy of 10+ years is inadequate.

The current policy is "Don't be a jerk, if you get called out for spoiling stuff, apologize if you are sincere if it wasn't intentional. If something has been spoiled for you, don't immediately assume it was done maliciously, people who have read further along in the book than you probably share the same excitement as you and not realize you haven't read that far yet."

I realize not everyone has agreed with that above premises, and lots of folks have decided to threadshit or post spoilers for the lulz in the metas about this topic, but I have yet to see the moderators do anything besides state the above, numerous times, in very kind and matter of fact statements. Beucase of the size of MetaFilter's admin staff, I can't imagine there being any more level of spoiler-friendly systems put in place. If the people whose day to day jobs are to run the site say "no, we don't have time to police spoilers all day" then I take there word on it. I am sure if they could in fact provide a spoiler system that would not take more time out of their day to deal with it, they would. But if they can't, then I am going to assume that they are spending a significant amount of their time helping run the site on a day to day basis where event a new fancier spoiler system would still require more time than what they currently spend on spoiler related modly duties (again, they will still have to deal with the griefers and the folks who don't know about spoilers, along with people who broke their spoiler tag, etc).

Maybe when MetaFilter is bought by Google could they use some of Googles natural language processing python libraries to do realtime spoiler detection.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:38 AM on June 16, 2011


I don't see why it's so hard to show a little consideration for people who know less than you. If it's something from the last few years and the FPP isn't specifically about your spoilers, then please don't drop them in the thread. That's just common courtesy.

Look at from the perspective of people who are still experiencing these stories, and haven't gotten as far as you yet. I haven't read Game of Thrones, so if there's a thread that's about "Game of Thrones" full stop, or some aspect of the books, or even just a thread that's about George R. R. Martin, I know to stay away from it. That's because it's reasonable to assume that people will discuss events from the books in those places. But if I see a thread that's about the TV show (or a damn metatalk discussion) I don't automatically assume they're free fire zones. Or I shouldn't have to, but certain Mefites have been so rude about this lately the safest thing is to just stay out of any thread that mentions anything that's even tangentially related to a story I haven't seen yet.

And even that isn't enough, when people start discussing this week's Doctor Who in a thread that's about a story from 1969. I can only assume that was an attempt to antagonize Artw one more time before he got out the door, but it's irritating for the rest of us too.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:20 AM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I realize not everyone has agreed with that above premises, and lots of folks have decided to threadshit or post spoilers for the lulz in the metas about this topic

Can you point to examples of this?

And even that isn't enough, when people start discussing this week's Doctor Who in a thread that's about a story from 1969. I can only assume that was an attempt to antagonize Artw one more time before he got out the door, but it's irritating for the rest of us too.

1. Everything isn't about Artw

2. Conversations drift. If a post is made about the Empire Strikes Back, someone will probably start talking about the prequels. I have no idea why people think threads will stick to singular topic about Doctor Who or GoT or whatever the latest media sensation is, especially on the web, which reaches across timezones and cultures. Metafilter isn't set up to do this sort of thing and attempting to make it so wouldn't be good for the site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:34 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter just isn't set up as a good place to discuss ongoing serial television but some MeFites want to discuss these shows here with other MeFites (and who can blame them because discussion here is often good and smart?). Combine with no spoiler mechanism and a lack of spoiler editing by mods except in the most egregious cases and these clashes keep happening.

In the example of Doctor Who the pattern seems to be someone does a random and sometimes thin DW post which is mostly used as an excuse to discuss the current DW episode(s). When that post runs out of steam or hits 30 days the pattern is repeated. So jimbob does his The Art of Doctor Who post, and maybe jimbob was completely legit and really did want to discuss the art of DW or maybe he didn't but it doesn't really matter. Sooner or later (but probably sooner) the discussion turns to the latest episode. Then even the people who actually participated in the art of discussion or were merely curious about it are getting spoiled and the people who are following the show but haven't watched the latest ep because it's not out in their region yet and they didn't torrent are getting spoiled and if there's enough GRAR it'll hit MeTa.

That Game of Thrones thread is playing out the same way: a bunch of people want to discuss the TV show but only up to the current episode, no spoilers from later on, thanks. Some are reading it to find out why they should watch the show in the first place. Some are there mostly because Peter Dinklage is awesome. And then there's the folks who read all the books years ago and think any and all discussion therein is up for grabs. Combine with the series' overstated† reputation for spoilers and someone is bound to be unhappy and here's the MeTa for proof.

†By my count there's only been two events in the series significant enough to warn for spoilers to date.
posted by 6550 at 3:39 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Gamers With Jobs handles this quite well, on the whole.

There are two basic thread types about games, spoiler and non-spoiler. Non-spoiler is the default; if it doesn't clearly say something about spoilers in either the thread title or the first paragraph or two of the post, you're expected to put any non-obvious plot developments in [spoiler] tags. This simply makes your text white-on-white, and people have to drag over it to read it.

In official spoiler threads (most major games that have actual plots get one of each), then it's anything goes; just by venturing in, you're accepting this.

It really, really isn't hard to figure out what a spoiler is. Sometimes people do 'leak' a little bit in non-spoiler threads, but mostly it's pretty safe to read a thread about a game you haven't bought, to see if you want to drop fifty bones on it.

Defaulting to spoilers allowed is a bad idea, because then you simply can't have threads where people can find out if they want to buy something. The Dinklage post, for instance, would be quite interesting to people who haven't read the Game of Thrones, but the chuckleheads there promptly ruined many of the surprises, and surprises are an absolutely key, integral part of that experience.

All you can safely do on Metafilter is avoid threads entirely about media products you haven't consumed, which removes at least half the reason to even have threads about media products.

I gotta say, I skimmed this thread a little bit shortly after it was posted, and with no knowledge of Artw's subsequent flameout, I was pissed enough that I was seriously thinking about closing my account. It really, really bothers me that the assholes are in charge of media threads at Metafilter, that the people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others aren't suppressed in any way. I find this, frankly, reprehensible, and I was seriously questioning today whether I wanted to be part of a community that allowed such jerks to not only prosper, but to dominate the conversation. Apparently, I wasn't quite pissed enough to hit the button, but it's the first time I've ever really seriously given it thought.
posted by Malor at 3:44 AM on June 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


It really, really bothers me that the assholes are in charge of media threads at Metafilter, that the people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others aren't suppressed in any way.

Can you point to recent examples of "people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others"? Can anyone? People keep repeating this, but haven't noticed it. A few cites would be nice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:14 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know if they are feeling malicious joy but there are several people who repeated their spoilerific comments from the GoT thread in this Meta which is a policy discussion and not a place to discuss GoTs. It's at best gratuitous. See here for example where the comments point didn't really need IMO an example and it sure as heck didn't need such a detailed example.
posted by Mitheral at 4:40 AM on June 16, 2011


Hee, I missed that example and now I've been spoiled too! It's crazy, almost as one literally can not talk some media on the internet without it being spoiled, however innocently and inadvertently.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:08 AM on June 16, 2011


It really, really bothers me that the assholes are in charge of media threads at Metafilter, that the people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others aren't suppressed in any way. I find this, frankly, reprehensible, and I was seriously questioning today whether I wanted to be part of a community that allowed such jerks to not only prosper, but to dominate the conversation. Apparently, I wasn't quite pissed enough to hit the button, but it's the first time I've ever really seriously given it thought.

This seems like a serious misrepresentation of the site policy, the site ethos, and the actuality of what's going on. As I said above, this kind of language begs the question that we're trying to hash out. Further, it makes it really really hard for someone like me, who isn't really concerned about spoilers, and frankly finds the GRAR about spoilers off-putting and a bit selfish, to hear the legitimate arguments for why more than common courtesy is called for in these cases. The rhetoric is almost exactly like the rhetoric of those religious folks who condemn me to hell for my beliefs and the way I live, who then claim that any failure on my part to acknowledge and support their religious choices shows a gross disrespect. It's textbook projection.

I like many of ArtW's posts, but his behavior in this post was horrible, and his flameout comment was a great illustration of what was wrong with it. He chose again and again to misrepresent the actual discussion here, the contributions of the mods, the positions of others, and the worth of others. In the end, he claimed that he was essentially being banned from the threads he loved, when that was the furthest possible thing from the truth. As the standard bearer for the anti-spoiler squad, he seems to encapsulate the bad behavior that informs too many of the arguments I read about this.
posted by OmieWise at 5:11 AM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

It really, really bothers me that the assholes are in charge of media threads at Metafilter, that the people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others aren't suppressed in any way.
While, yes, there are people who come in after folks complain about spoilers and post spiteful comments, by and large that's a really unfair accusation.

When conversations about media pop up, folks aren't sitting behind their keyboards clutching their hands and cackling in evil joy waiting for a chance to post something part of the audience might not know so they can cry "Aha! At last, an opportunity to spoil someones day!!! My evil plans are coming to fruition -- let the tears and lamentations flow like music to my ears..." From their perspective, they're having a conversation, and mentioning stuff that seems, to them, germane to the conversation. It's not about ruining your day, it's about going about theirs.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:31 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I don't see why it's so hard to show a little consideration for people who know less than you.
posted by cgc373 at 5:34 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to check out the Six Feet Under FPP, because I've never seen the show and I'd like a chance to see MeFites' takes on it to help me decide if I should check it out. But I'm sure that thread will be full of un-marked spoilers, so I won't dip in there. I just wish we had a culture of conscientiousness around this stuff. I actually think fans of stuff miss out on chances to recruit new fans because the current policy (assume every comment is a spoiler) isn't really supportive of that. I mean, yes, if people were inclined to mark their spoilers I would still be spoiled on a few things, which is fine. But I'd have a bunch of "SPOILER" markers in the thread so I'd know what to read around, and I'd be able to consume the more general comments that discuss the nature of the series and why it was good or bad. As it is, I just have to stay out of the thread. That is MeFi's policy on this. Which is sad.

(Note: I don't actually care about spoilers, but this makes a good example. And yes, I did stay out of the 6FU thread because, well, maybe I do care about spoilers a little. So sue me.)
posted by Eideteker at 5:35 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to check out the Six Feet Under FPP, because I've never seen the show and I'd like a chance to see MeFites' takes on it to help me decide if I should check it out.

AskMe might be able to help you with this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:00 AM on June 16, 2011


I just wish we had a culture of conscientiousness around this stuff.

I really think we do, most of the time. But it's going to be different for different people, especially when it's about a show that's been off the air for six years. Where's the cutoff for having to assume that spoilers cannot be discussed (assuming everyone agrees on what a spoiler is for any given piece of media)?

On preview: Brandon's idea is excellent.
posted by rtha at 6:03 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just wish we had a culture of conscientiousness around this stuff. I actually think fans of stuff miss out on chances to recruit new fans because the current policy (assume every comment is a spoiler) isn't really supportive of that.

The way you framed this is annoying, as it casts people who don't agree with you in a negative light, while pointing out all the supposed benefits if only everyone else would cater to your desires.

Yet it's been eleven years since the show started, six since it ended and you've been a member of the site for seven. You've had plenty of time to watch the show or ask other Mefites about it, yet you don't seem to have done that. Why should anyone else have to tiptoe around the discussion because you haven't gotten around to viewing the media yet?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


AskMe means selection bias. People who like the series will drop in to promote it, but people who were just meh will not to the converse. I think the number of people who are "meh, don't waste your time" will outnumber those who would be like, "NOOOOOOO, WORST SHOW EVER." I prefer unvarnished opinions.

Plus, I don't use AskMe. But that's just me, personally.
posted by Eideteker at 6:20 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


AskMe means selection bias.

Yet a FPP won't?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on June 16, 2011


I just wish we had a culture of conscientiousness around this stuff. I actually think fans of stuff miss out on chances to recruit new fans because the current policy (assume every comment is a spoiler) isn't really supportive of that.

I really think we do, most of the time.

Seeing as someone mentioned mostly quiet lurkers earlier on I just want to say that I disagree here.

I can't recall any discussion of film/TV/games/anthing with a narrative that i have read here (over a period of quite a few years) that didn't end up spoilerific.

Policy here is obviously set and isn't going to change but just thought I would add a voice that doesn't normally get involved.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 6:40 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


'd like to check out the Six Feet Under FPP, because I've never seen the show and I'd like a chance to see MeFites' takes on it to help me decide if I should check it out. But I'm sure that thread will be full of un-marked spoilers, so I won't dip in there.

Six Feet Under has been off the air for six years. At what point am I allowed to discuss the show freely in an FPP without being accused of being an asshole who's hell-bent on destroying everything that is good about your life?
posted by palomar at 7:00 AM on June 16, 2011


This seems like a serious misrepresentation of the site policy

It's not, threads will be full of spoilers and there is no way to know of they are malicious or not.

"Aha! At last, an opportunity to spoil someones day!!! My evil plans are coming to fruition -- let the tears and lamentations flow like music to my ears..."

Again, yes, people say this for Game of Thrones.

Here is jessamyn's comment from the most recent meTa about spoilers

Yeah, comments buried in threads on the least read part of the site aren't how you communicate spoiler policy. There is nothing about the lack of spoiler protection in the new user message or the posting guidelines. There is no spoiler guidance unless you go looking for it specifically and as we have seen in this thread long term involved users are not aware of what the policy is. I'm still not clear on it since it is buried in so much doubletalk about a spoiler being "malicious" or not. That is about punishment for the poster, not the presence or lack of presence of spoilers that is the issue for a reader.

Just straight up add a warning somewhere visible that spoilers are fair game and to read with that in mind, do that and posters don't even have to worry about adding their own warnings.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:01 AM on June 16, 2011


Again, yes, people say this for Game of Thrones.

Why are you posting links to SomethingAwful when the charge is that people are maliciously posting spoilers on MetaFilter?
posted by palomar at 7:11 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The angry/malicious fanbase for the series goes well beyond SA. It is perfectly reasonable to consider that portion of the fanbase may end up here as well.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:14 AM on June 16, 2011


Wow. From the very very very top of the SomethingAwful thread that furiousxgeorge posted:

"rst things first: This thread will have spoilers, lots of them, and if you have not read the books, you will be spoiled, full stop. In the effort to be less bad, I'm not putting any in the first post, but some rear end in a top hat probably will get it out of the way in the second one. That rear end in a top hat may or may not be me.

BUT I WARNED YOU. LEAVE NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!"


It's becoming clear that the anti-spoiler crowd views any spoiler at all as posted with malicious intent. Even with a giant, glaring warning stating that the thread will be full of spoilers and if you want to remain unspoiled you should not participate.

I don't like being spoiled as much as you guys don't like being spoiled, but this is not anywhere near a good example of the kind of behavior you're decrying. I honestly do not understand why someone would go to that SA thread, read that warning at the very head of the thread, and then feel comfortable claiming that they are a victim of some asshole who ever so callously posted a spoiler deliberately to ruin everyone's fun. Come on. This is ridiculous.
posted by palomar at 7:18 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to check out the Six Feet Under FPP, because I've never seen the show and I'd like a chance to see MeFites' takes on it to help me decide if I should check it out.

This is kind of a prime example of why I think spoilers, while annoying, are not that big a deal in most cases.

Here's a big spoiler for that show:

Everyone dies.

Does knowing that ruin the show?

I think the only case where a spoiler actually 'ruins' a piece of media is when it revolves around a mystery or a twist, and if a story utterly depends on a twist, it probably wasn't that great anyway.

Knowing that a particular character dies in an episode ahead of time doesn't bother me in the slightest. If it's a good story it doesn't even matter if you've seen it or read it before, it's good every time you experience it. Does knowing that Darth Vader is Luke's father ruin empire strikes back? I don't think it does, it just makes it richer.

I actually 'spoiled' myself accidentally for Game of Thrones reading a wiki article about a character and the impact of knowing what happened to him was just as great from reading it in that wiki article as I think watching it on the show was, and the foreknowledge of what was going to happen made watching him basically beg for his life, knowing his daughter was going to be there to watch him die, made it all the more sad and horrifying to me.
posted by empath at 7:20 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It really, really bothers me that the assholes are in charge of media threads at Metafilter, that the people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others aren't suppressed in any way.

People on the site by and large do not do this. Lots and lots of people prefer not to post spoilers on principle, and that's fine; some people discuss inherently spoilery stuff in good faith in threads on that subject, and that's fine too; the rare person actually unambiguously being assholes get grief from us. Assholes taking malicious joy are, specifically, the people who are negatively affected by our otherwise mostly hands-off policy. But there are very few assholes on metafilter by that definition, and a whole lot of people who are pretty much okay people hewing to long-standing site conventions about spoilery discussion being allowable when done in good faith.

The assumption that because we aren't going to go onto aggressive spoiler patrol we are high-fiving prankster spoiler jerks is just really, really weirdly uncharitable to me and I do not know how you get there from what we have actually said, repeatedly, on the subject.

It's not, threads will be full of spoilers and there is no way to know of they are malicious or not.

There's also no way to know whether any given askme is genuine or a troll. This is a community based in no small part on the idea of trusting one another; we soldier on by generally giving folks the benefit of the doubt unless there's seriously compelling evidence to the contrary, and talking about it when there's something really weird going on.

Actual "that was obviously someone being an asshole" stuff has happened now and then with spoilers, and in at least one memorable case got someone booted from the site. But there's also been a number of "person didn't quite think that through" situations with e.g. askme questions with a spoiler above instead of below the fold, where the poster meant no harm and yet was called an asshole or a jerk or etc. for Posting Spoilers WTF, and that's pretty shitty.

What it comes down to is we're not going to assume malice in a null context. For contexts where it's far from null, where there is some reason to think someone's being a butthead on purpose, that's a great time to drop us a line and let us know what's up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:24 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]



It's becoming clear that the anti-spoiler crowd views any spoiler at all as posted with malicious intent. Even with a giant, glaring warning stating that the thread will be full of spoilers and if you want to remain unspoiled you should not participate.


How about you have no idea what you are talking about? That warning is there because the thread has been threatened to be banned out of existence for doing things like paying cash money to buy avatars with spoilers in them for people trying to avoid them. It's called the bad thread because they intentionally spoil anyone who comes into it and have been doing that for years even when there was no warning. If you had kept reading you would have noted a SA mod telling them not to incite people to enter the spoiler free thread and post spoilers, because they have done that several times. People have linked to that thread, previous versions of which had no warning and just started in with the spoilers, in spoiler free threads.

The "anti-spoiler" crowd is not out to get you, we just actually know what we are talking about with this series. People will maliciously spoil it, and it's easy to do it in such a way that it doesn't seem malicious. That means people who don't want to be spoiled need to avoid the threads, and it's not crazy to ask for that to be spelled out for them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:24 AM on June 16, 2011


If ArtW can't be arsed to at least control-f for mod comments in a post he himself made, that is on him and not on anyone else.
posted by rtha at 7:26 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


> if a story utterly depends on a twist, it probably wasn't that great anyway.

While that's probably not untrue, the quality of the story really doesn't factor into it here. People aren't so much concerned with experiencing timeless tales unspoiled by foreknowledge, they want their throwaway entertainment fresh so they can enjoy a cheap thrill. I think the policy (and using a word like "policy" to talk about such banalities is dubious) on spoilers here is about as much as we can hope for.

I personally like to watch/read things with as little advance knowledge about the contents as possible so I can understand the backlash against casual spoilers. But, there's no reason for people to be whiny shits about it. It gives First World Problems a bad name.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:26 AM on June 16, 2011


Cortex, again, if I'm watching Empire Strikes Back for the first time I don't care if you spoil me out of ill will or if it is part of a folksy slice of life comment from Sonascope on how Darth Vader reminds him of fishing with his father, I'm equally spoiled either way. The important part is letting people know to avoid certain threads since non-malicious spoilers will 100% absolutely be there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:28 AM on June 16, 2011


Yeah, comments buried in threads on the least read part of the site aren't how you communicate spoiler policy. There is nothing about the lack of spoiler protection in the new user message or the posting guidelines. There is no spoiler guidance unless you go looking for it specifically and as we have seen in this thread long term involved users are not aware of what the policy is.

The "comments buried in threads" are reiterations of long-standing policy, and the threads they're "buried in" are exactly the threads someone needing clarification of that policy ought to be reading if the FAQ entry specifically about it for some reason is not enough.

We are not going to cram a spoiler lecture into the New User Signups page because it's not fundamentally what the site is about. Metafilter is a generalist site, not a purpose-built pop-media discussion site; that's just one of many things that gets posted about and discussed here. This is precisely why we have an FAQ, to cover at greater length the less fundamental, more esoteric bits of site policy stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:30 AM on June 16, 2011


I'm aware of the FAQ but it isn't listing the policy you are posting about here, which is that in general you won't be editing in the warnings and that the community will not be using them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:33 AM on June 16, 2011


furiousxgeorge, I don't give a shit about what goes in throughout that SA thread. Do you know why? Because it doesn't apply here at all. This is not SA. This is MetaFilter. When you (and here you = the people who claim that at MetaFilter spoilers are posted maliciously) are asked to provide examples of the behavior you're decrying, and you provide a link from an entirely different community, it's just really weird and it sends a clear message that you're not "fighting fair" here.

Your assertion to cortex about how basically every thread is going to need major spoiler warnings on it is really disturbing. You're asking for an impossible level of moderation.
posted by palomar at 7:35 AM on June 16, 2011


Few if any of the FAQ entries offer specific use cases or examples of what the community won't be doing in general practice. For that there's (a) spending some time on the site to get used to the culture and (b) doing quick search of the metatalk archive for threads about spoilers and (c) asking in metatalk if you're not clear. These are all basically normal how-its-done ways of acclimating to Metafilter going back over a decade.

We can look at expanding the text of the FAQ entry a little to make it more explicit that mefi is not a spoiler-free zone; I think it's there by implication already that spoilers in threads can happen and that like NSFW stuff, spoilery stuff cannot be assumed to be labeled, but making it really 1 2 3 obvious may be the way to go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:39 AM on June 16, 2011


furiousxgeorge, I don't give a shit about what goes in throughout that SA thread.

Then don't reply to me about it. You clearly gave a shit when you mistakenly thought it supported your point.

The link was an example for a certain strain of angry members of the ASOIAF fan base that we have even covered here previously in an FPP or two. There are members of that fanbase here on Metafilter, I'm one of them to a degree.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:41 AM on June 16, 2011


We can look at expanding the text of the FAQ entry a little to make it more explicit that mefi is not a spoiler-free zone; I think it's there by implication already that spoilers in threads can happen and that like NSFW stuff, spoilery stuff cannot be assumed to be labeled, but making it really 1 2 3 obvious may be the way to go.

Straight up, just tell people to avoid threads on topics they won't be spoiled on. The FAQ gives the mistaken impression you will try to police spoilers in the comments. As I said above, if you were trying to police them (non malicious spoilers) I would venture into the threads and shrug if something slipped through. With the actual policy, I will just avoid such threads.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:44 AM on June 16, 2011


I'm aware of the FAQ but it isn't listing the policy you are posting about here

At some level we expect people to know larger "how the site works" mechanics such as the fact that we never edit comments for content [a fact that is in the FAQ]. I know that there are some forums that deal with media products that have spoiler policies which involve site functionality that is different from the internet at large, but this is not one of those sites. Explaining an absence of a feature can only go so far. We do not take pains to police the site for spoilers, we'd prefer people not to be jerks to each other. That's about it, and that's about how far it's going to go.

I know for people who are very active in other communities this seems at odds with what they are used to. The way we look at it is that the only spoiler guideline we have is subsumed under the general "don't be an ass" header. So what I'm saying is the policy is that there is no policy and we've bent over backwards to explain exactly what we mean by that, but short of enumerating past examples case-by-case [which itself involves spoilers so it seems sort of weirdly aggro] there is literally no way for us to get more specific. This is something that people need to make their peace with and it's one of those rubber-meets-the-road situations where by dint of us being the people who enforce the policies and guidelines, there is likly to be some chafing with people who disagree with the guidelines and their implementation.

Again, we're here to talk about it. And we can add a few words to the FAQ that it's really "reader beware" with spoilers here, but honestly, nothing has changed in the way we've dealt with spoilers over the past decade or so. The community has shifted somewhat, but we've dealt with spoilers the exact same way.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:45 AM on June 16, 2011


*don't want to be spoiled on
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:45 AM on June 16, 2011


That's FINE Jess, just add the warning in a visible spot. Everything else is just a distraction here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:47 AM on June 16, 2011


If you intend a link to make a point for you about spoiler warnings in a thread, then you should not choose to link directly to the page in the thread that actually contains the spoiler warning, dude. Of course I'm not going to go any further when I click on your link and see a big bold spoiler warning in my face.
posted by palomar at 7:47 AM on June 16, 2011


The important part is letting people know to avoid certain threads since non-malicious spoilers will 100% absolutely be there.

The important part is probably to get the fuck over it. I mean really.

I like when mefites talk about media. They're smart and generally have insightful things to say. If everyone is force to tap dance around the plots and storylines of every piece of media ever produced to satisfy the nitpicky demands of a few people who demand to be completely unspoiled about every show, that reduces the quality of conversation here.

My preferred solution is to have spoiler tags so we can get a bit of the best of both worlds, but all things considered, I'd rather take intelligent conversation over whining any day of the week, even if it means that every once in a while I find out what happens in a show I haven't seen a day in advance.

I mean, seriously, some of you guys are off your rockers. It's just a fucking tv show.
posted by empath at 7:48 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The important part is probably to get the fuck over it. I mean really.

This probably goes for everyone commenting on a 300 plus comment thread about spoilers on a website. There's no need to be dismissive.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:55 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's FINE Jess, just add the warning in a visible spot.

We added a specific line to the FAQ: MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.

And again, MetaFilter behaves in this regard like the bulk of the rest of the internet. At some level we have to make a "reasonable internet user" assessment. It's not our job or the job of this site to make sure every person is clear on every guideline or policy before they interact with the site. We try to indicate things that we think are important in places where we feel that reasonable people would look for them. We try to be understanding if people are unclear on a policy or guideline. This comes up in MeTa sometimes where either people think that we've made this assessment incorrectly or people argue that we need to do more to help people know or understand something about the way the site works.

While I don't particularly agree that we need to be this level of clear/obvious about how we deal with spoilers, it's simple to add a line to the FAQ to this effect. However we're not adding something to the new member page and we're not adding anything to the posting guidelines.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:55 AM on June 16, 2011


it's really "reader beware" with spoilers here,

This is the expectation that I have, because I know that there isn't really an alternative that doesn't get technically ugly, or mod intensive in a way that is going to end up being unreasonable.

It just gets frustrating because I was in that thread mostly to talk about Peter Dinklage, and I saw a couple of things that I wish I hadn't. I honestly hadn't occurred to me that people would bring points from future books into a conversation about one of the actors on the program, but that's because I'm dumb. We always shift the conversation to talk about the story as a whole, and I probably should have known that and abandoned ship much earlier.

I do hope Artw comes back soon, he's one of my favorite voices around here.
posted by quin at 8:09 AM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's just a fucking tv show.

Come on, that's an unfair characterization; it might be "just a fucking tv show" to some, but it is something that people are investing their time and attention to; for some of us, it's a bit of quality time we spend with our spouses on Sunday nights that we both get to enjoy, for others it's a really neat switch from one form of media to another, and they are curious as to how the transition will be made, for even others, it's background noise that can be safely ignored.

I'll draw the comparison to sports here, I don't give a shit about sports. At all, I don't watch any games or follow any aspect of that world. But I understand that for some people, it's a real passion in their lives, and something they put a lot of energy into caring about.

And it would be just as equally crappy for me to denigrate their interest as merely a thing on TV. Nor would I expect someone who really cares about, say football, to not be upset if I spoiled specific details of the game they were waiting to get home and watch on their DVR.

I get that it isn't a perfect parallel, but it's close enough that I think it illustrates the point.
posted by quin at 8:17 AM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'd say the same thing about sports. Or pretty much anything else. If merely knowing what happens is enough to ruin your enjoyment of something, it probably wasn't worth watching to begin with.
posted by empath at 8:26 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The obvious solution for anti-spoilers people is to just get so high before you watch each episode that you don't remember it's been pre-spoilt for you.
posted by nomisxid at 8:29 AM on June 16, 2011



We added a specific line to the FAQ: MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.


See, I think you need to be a bit more direct. "Metafilter is not a spoiler free zone." The current line is sitting under two paragraphs that suggest the mods will be policing this kind of thing, but that isnt really the case. This isn't a situation where some stuff is going to fall through the cracks, some forms of spoilers in the comments are just valid points of discussion and the tags are optional. That policy is fine, as long as it is clearly spelled out. I don't think you are quite there.

If merely knowing what happens is enough to ruin your enjoyment of something, it probably wasn't worth watching to begin with.


That's cool and all as long as you respect the people who do care. Ruin may be taking it a bit far, but the experience can certainly be severely downgraded for me.

Shows like Lost got people to tune in specifically to find out what happens next, while at the same time being a strong character drama. I don't think it would have been as great without the mysteries even as much as I liked the character moments.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:02 AM on June 16, 2011


See, I think you need to be a bit more direct. "Metafilter is not a spoiler free zone."

No, that is a realm of distinction that moves into the ridiculous. Anyone for whom "Mods do not police spoilers on the site except to try to keep them off the front pages of the subsites." and "Metafilter should not be considered...a spoiler-free zone" is not sufficient warning that spoilers will appear unfettered on the site is going to have to figure that out the hard way, because that it really, really explicit already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:07 AM on June 16, 2011


I don't think you are quite there.

Oh, man. Your opinion and you're entitled to it and all, but a lot of people have never had any trouble at all understanding that this is not a spoiler-free site.

Having it in the FAQ is good, but it's not a panacea, and there can be no panacea: there is no way to make everyone read the FAQ or meTA threads about spoilers. There's a thread on the blue right this very minute that is rife with spoilers (for various values of "spoiler"). If you've never watched Arrested Development, then don't read the thread.
posted by rtha at 9:07 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, I think you need to be a bit more direct.

I'm aware of this. This is a compromise. And this is where it's staying.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:08 AM on June 16, 2011


"Mods do not police spoilers on the site except to try to keep them off the front pages of the subsites."

Honestly I somehow missed that line, that is a perfect way to phrase it and I withdraw my objections.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:14 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm having a hard time distinguishing general-spoilers GRAR from specific-to-GOT GRAR, but from what I saw the Game of Thrones thread was about as well behaved as anybody can hope to have on mefi. (Unless there were comments mods deleted.) Many people were nice and labeled spoilers at the top of their posts while a couple people didn't, either out of ignorance or excitement. With the exception of the outright lie early in the thread, people were extremely careful not to reveal unforeseeable or major spoilers from a decade-old series of books rife with crazy events. Everybody should be pretty happy about how that thread went down, and I think it was a really good compromise between the spoilers/no-spoilers crowds. I think attempts to further limit spoilers would require herculean efforts for fairly little gain, especially when the simplest solution for no-spoilers people is just to stay out of the thread entirely. Otherwise, people should take a step back when looking at the GOT thread and realize it actually went pretty well.

Just as there are other websites for hardcore book discussion, there are websites for spoiler-free show discussion. People who want either should go to those respective websites and not keep fighting the same argument over and over again here. And for people who feel like the spoilers in the mefi thread diminished their enjoyment of the show: you're still unspoiled on the large majority of twists in the seasons ahead.
posted by lilac girl at 9:21 AM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]



And again, MetaFilter behaves in this regard like the bulk of the rest of the internet. At some level we have to make a "reasonable internet user" assessment.


Again, Gamers With Jobs handles this just fine. Spoilers are not inevitable, any more than the Internet is always going to be 'boyzone'. Metafilter has gotten a lot better about boyzone, but it's getting worse about spoilers, when it just doesn't need to.

At best, it's rude and thoughtless; at worst, it's malicious. It makes it largely pointless to even have media posts here, because MeFi is supposed to be about Best of the Web, not about the discussions. If I can't safely read a post about a media product because people want the discussions to be paramount, then I'd say they're doing it wrong.

The content is supposed to be out there, not in here, and if you're destroying the content out there with the content in here, you're definitely doing it wrong.
posted by Malor at 9:32 AM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


At best, it's rude and thoughtless; at worst, it's malicious.

I think it's rude to tell me what I can and can't talk about.
posted by empath at 9:36 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you are just being told to use tags out of courtesy, which I've seen you do before so what's the problem?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:39 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The content is supposed to be out there, not in here

Also, this seems like your problem is solved, then. Just don't read the content here.

I mean really, equating spoilers to sexism? That's stunning really. I get that you're annoyed by spoilers, but let's not compare it to sexual harassment, please.
posted by empath at 9:39 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Again, Gamers With Jobs handles this just fine.

Good for them! They're a different website, they can do whatever they like. If you like how they handle discussions of games, discussing games there seems like a good idea.

At best, it's rude and thoughtless; at worst, it's malicious.

At worst—and this is a very rare occurrence around here—it's malicious. At best, it's totally and completely fine and how this place has operated for years and years. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with having discussions that broach potential-spoiler territory; it's a matter of local culture, some contexts accommodate it and some do not. That's it. That's all.

Not liking it doesn't make it bad, it just makes it something you personally don't like, and you are welcome to not like it but that's for you to deal with on a personal-decisions level, not something that remotely justifies painting everyone who disagrees with you as rude and thoughtless people.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:41 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher writes "AskMe might be able to help you with this."

Not sure how one would ask that without it being deleted as chatfilter.

empath writes "I think it's rude to tell me what I can and can't talk about."

Seriously? Is the rudeness someone pointing out time and place restrictions or is it the existence of the restrictions themselves that is rude?
posted by Mitheral at 9:47 AM on June 16, 2011


It makes it largely pointless to even have media posts here, because MeFi is supposed to be about Best of the Web, not about the discussions. If I can't safely read a post about a media product because people want the discussions to be paramount, then I'd say they're doing it wrong.

The content is supposed to be out there, not in here, and if you're destroying the content out there with the content in here, you're definitely doing it wrong.


I don't understand your point here. You've just made an argument for the discussion being something superfluous. If that's so, you should not care what its content is, you should just read the link. If you're just reading the link, then how is the post pointless?

You argument seems to be that you want your cake (the media link), and to eat it to (discuss it on MeFi), although you suggest that people who want that are doing it wrong.

Can you clarify?
posted by OmieWise at 9:53 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Six Feet Under has been off the air for six years. At what point am I allowed to discuss the show freely in an FPP without being accused of being an asshole who's hell-bent on destroying everything that is good about your life?"

Discuss away. But if there's a point about the story that you think, hey, if I was watching this for the first time, this would affect the way I saw the episode/series, then call it out as a spoiler. Not doing so doesn't make you an asshole, but if you're not being conscientious of other users, that's not great, either. No need for hyperbole, unless you ARE trying to be an asshole.

"I think the only case where a spoiler actually 'ruins' a piece of media is when it revolves around a mystery or a twist, and if a story utterly depends on a twist, it probably wasn't that great anyway."

I don't think it's about ruining, though. I think it's about giving someone the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of a story as the author intended. As has been said above, you can always rewatch something, but it's hard to get that first viewing back. Maybe you, personally, empath, don't feel anything is a spoiler or that spoilers exist at all. Which is fine. What I'm asking is for people to police themselves on spoilers. As I keep saying, I'd just like each user to stop for a quarter of a second and think, "Would knowing this affect/diminish my enjoyment of the story?" If the answer's "yes, probably," then be a pal and throw a spoiler warning out there. Obviously, if you don't feel anything is a spoiler, then it doesn't really affect you.

"Metafilter is not a spoiler free zone."

The FAQ item should add something to the effect of:
"If you are posting content or linking to content that you think may be NSFW or a spoiler, please make a good faith effort to prefix it with a [NSFW] or [SPOILER] warning in your comment. There is no penalty or punishment for posting unmarked spoilers or NSFW content, but marking them is a nice, community-minded thing to do."
Right now, it's all about, "Hey, user, shit happens," without mentioning anything the users can/should do to make MeFi a better place. Just because you can't control/police a behavior doesn't mean you shouldn't encourage folks to be excellent to each other.
posted by Eideteker at 10:02 AM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher writes "AskMe might be able to help you with this."

Not sure how one would ask that without it being deleted as chatfilter.


This or some variation should work fine:
Hi! This is a question about Six Feet Under from someone who's never seen it, so please no major spoilers.

Anyway, like I said, I've never watched the series, but I heard interesting things about it, so I'm wondering if another Mefites can chime in with a recommendation on whether to watch the series or not. Either yea or nea is fine, but with your recommendation can you give a brief explanation of why, with a few spoilers as possible? Thanks!"
On preview:
Not doing so doesn't make you an asshole, but if you're not being conscientious of other users, that's not great, either.

Not putting spoilers in doesn't mean one isn't being conscientious of other yours, it just means they're not doing something you want them to do. The repeated framing of those who disagree with as being not nice, not community minded or not something positive is off-putting to your position.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:14 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In general, when someone tells you that you are doing something hurtful to them the conscientious position is to believe them and stop the action unless you have a compelling reason not to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:21 AM on June 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's not like changing a FAQ is going to solve anything anyway. Does it stop people from spamming? Being douchebags to each other?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:22 AM on June 16, 2011


The FAQ item should add something

We've done as much to the FAQ as we are going to. While we'll add a NSFW tag or indicator to a link or a post [and this is one of the rare cases where we'll edit without a user's express request] we're actually not going to do the same thing for spoilers. Our definition of NSFW is fairly clearly outlined and we feel that we can consistently apply a NSFW indicator as a mod judgment call. The same is not, at all, true for adding a spoiler indicator. So, while it's fine for people to use it, we're not going to after-the-fact add it to people's comments without their permission, ever. We will only, as stated in the FAQ, move above-the-fold spoilers to below-the-fold and remove spoilers-as-threadshitting.

If we tell people how to behave in the FAQ there's a strong implication that we'll be moderating the site based on those how-to-behave statements. The FAQ is just that, questions we get frequently asked, and answers to those questions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:26 AM on June 16, 2011


Oh yay, yet another MetaTalk thread about spoilers.

That said, Book 2 took me forever to read and I'll be hanged if I bother reading through the series again. Please, if you must post spoilers, use this little trick

That "little trick" makes it damn hard to respond--view source, Ctrl-F for unique phrase, copy text, close source tab/window...

But good to know on Book 2. It's a bit of a slog in parts but I'm hoping it's the worst one. I'm trying to read all 4 before that GOT thread ends.

1. Create a Spoiler flag for entire threads and/or single posts .

2. Create a process that runs every x minutes (5, 10 ...whatever) and if a set number of spoiler flags are received (2,3,5 ... whatever) on a post it marks the thread and/or post somehow as a spoiler. (obviously this would be easier to implement on entire threads - less processor intensive )

3. Create a user option to not show the spoiled comments and/or threads if so marked.

4. Create a process to limit the number of spoiler flags a user can place in a given time period to avoid misuse

I'd be willing to donate the coding time myself just so I'd never have to see a freaking to see a freaking meta thread about spoilers again.


A voluntary "spoiler" tag for obscuring text without action is a far simpler technical solution, and would take care of 99.9% of "spoiler" content.

There is not a technological solution that we could employ that would keep people from being spoiled, so we do not have one. That is the policy.

I don't think that's entirely accurate. More accurate would be: "There is not a technological solution that we could employ that would keep people from being spoiled 100% of the time, so we do not have one."

if a thread is about a TV show, talking about plot points that haven't aired yet is a spoiler. So mark it.

But HOW do we "mark it"? In a way that actually works? Is it small text beneath SPOILER in all-caps? I think that's part of the problem here.

Honestly, I see no good argument against special text treatment for author-marked "spoilers" (and, even better, an edit window so someone can go back and mark something as a "spoiler" if she didn't think it was a spoiler but everybody else did. ;) But that doesn't seem likely.

Simply knowing there was a twist in The Sixth Sense was enough for me to figure out what was going on (not that I cared).

Yep, me too. 10-15 minutes in and I had it figured out. The rest of the movie was MUCH less enjoyable for me than my companions, I think. So, in that case, just knowing "there's a twist" was a spoiler.

Anyone, everyone is obviously different. The answer, IMO, is to let authors mark their own content as "SPOILER" when they want to, as a courtesy to readers, in a way that obscures that content unless the reader takes an action.

(The ReelViews discussion forums have a specific spoiler tag which works really well, much better than ROT13--but it's a relatively small community. Example.)

...

you're expected to put any non-obvious plot developments in [spoiler] tags

We have no universally accepted "spoiler tag" treatment. Let's agree on one and put it in the FAQ, at the least.

Almost EVERY community that discusses current media has a spoiler tag. Games, movies, books, etc. MetaFilter is a community that discusses current media. It should have a spoiler tag.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on June 16, 2011


OK I'm late to this but I'm fairly saddened and disappointed by some of the stuff I've read here. I think not spoilering stuff is just a common courtesy. Yes there's always going to be problems about what people think actually constitutes a spoiler given the context of the discussion but I would have thought that generally it was pretty much common sense.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:27 AM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


If I don't put a spoiler alert thing in a comment I'm making, it's not because I'm rude, thoughtless, or malicious.

It's because it's something I don't think of as a spoiler. Sometimes this stuff is obvious and agreed on by a majority of people (e.g. Luke's father, although at this point in history, christ, if you complain about not knowing this thing that has been a huge cultural joke for a couple of decades....); in other cases, people will not agree - as we have seen, repeatedly - on what exactly a spoiler is. Minor plot points are not spoilers. To me. They might be to you. I do not live in your brain and cannot possibly know that you don't wish to know that Princess Leia does not get crushed in the garbage crusher.
posted by rtha at 10:29 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do not live in your brain and cannot possibly know that you don't wish to know that Princess Leia does not get crushed in the garbage crusher.

Man, that would have been an interesting plot twist.

Luke: OMG, the hot princess I wanted to bone is dead!!
Han: Who the hell is going to pay me?!
Chewbacca: OOOO, pancakes!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:36 AM on June 16, 2011

"Aha! At last, an opportunity to spoil someones day!!! My evil plans are coming to fruition -- let the tears and lamentations flow like music to my ears..."
Again, yes, people say this for Game of Thrones.
That was a link to the Something Awful forums. SA has threads full of asshole mobs. In other news, water is wet.

Now link me to that behavior on Metafilter which is the community whose norms we are discussing.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:45 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, that would have been an interesting plot twist.

Or, if Harrison Ford has been crushed --

Chewbacca: OOOO, Hancakes!
posted by cjelli at 10:45 AM on June 16, 2011


We have no universally accepted "spoiler tag" treatment. Let's agree on one and put it in the FAQ, at the least.

If this is the chosen solution, I'd ask for something that will work with phones and tablets. Mouse-overs, in particular, are impossible to see without a mouse.
posted by bonehead at 10:45 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was a link to the Something Awful forums. SA has threads full of asshole mobs. In other news, water is wet.


They also have threads that manage to do the "impossible" and police spoilers, but the point of that link is to illustrate an angry portion of the ASOIAF fanbase which exists way beyond SA.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:50 AM on June 16, 2011


I don't know if that's accurate. I started reading the "no spoilers and pretend the books don't exist" thread on SA for Game of Thrones and people were referencing the books almost every page. Sometimes they'd get probated for it, sometimes not. I only made it maybe five pages in though, so maybe it got better?
posted by ODiV at 10:59 AM on June 16, 2011


It has gotten better. Stuff slipped through the cracks earlier (as they always will) but the mods put in a lot of effort to fix the issues. I can almost forgive them for banishing My Little Pony talk now.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2011


Instead of imposing a solution for your own problem on everyone else, catch up with the spoilers yourself. Exhibit some self control and avoid conversations about things you think might ruin your fun. Bookmark the FPP if you have to, and come back when you've finished. The discussion will still be there.

Seriously, don't read things that you know are problematic. Even a dog will quit sticking his nose in the tasty-smelling fire. Or are you afraid the conversation will go on without you putting your stamp on it?

If that's the case, continue bitching at the mods in Metatalk. They seem to have a lot of patience for it.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:09 AM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


They also have threads that manage to do the "impossible" and police spoilers

Re: your scare quotes.

We don't think policing spoilers is impossible in the entire world. We think that given the structure of this site, the time commitments of the staff, the overall focus of the site, the makeup of the membership, and the feedback we've gotten from the membership, policing spoilers is not something we're going to do here. Other sites do it. That's super. They have different structures, different rules, different cultures, and different goals. Something Awful, for example, is much more heavily moderated than MetaFilter.

Given the way this site exists, right now, policing spoilers would require a level of restructuring of the way the site works, the way guidelines are enforced, and the way mods interact with the content of other people's posts and comments to such a degree that we feel it would not be possible without an upheaval that would be significantly more problematic than the problem that would be solved by having some sort of a spoiler tag/policing mechanism.

If cortex or I said it was impossible it was only in the hopes that people would stop haranguing us about it. Of course it's possible. It's impractical. It's too complex to be worth the incredible hassle. We're not going to do it. We are trying to set expectations appropriately.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:18 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was referring to comments like this that make it seem like spoiler free guidelines are impossible, I'm aware of the unique situation here and how well the light moderation style works most of the time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:23 AM on June 16, 2011


They also have threads that manage to do the "impossible" and police spoilers

Okay, seriously: do the people who are asking for spoiler policing know what they're really asking for? They are asking the mods to actively police threads and delete or modify comments simply because they contain information that some people don't like. This is not about deleting hate speech or deleting extreme fightiness: a disturbingly large number of people here truly want Metafilter to be censored simply based on information they disapprove of. That is certainly not a direction that I'd like this site to go in.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:34 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Again, I'm perfectly satisfied with the current policy since it is well explained in the FAQ and people should know to avoid potential trouble threads for them.

That said, most of the work would be done with flagging and when the mods aren't sure on something they can use their judgement. I can totally understand why they don't want to go there for a bunch of reasons but it wouldn't be the end of the world. Adding a spoiler warning is about the lightest form of censorship out there so I don't get the hyperventilation on that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:39 AM on June 16, 2011


Flatluigi: (If you've been following along with previous spoiler threads and aren't just threadshitting in this one because you've got an opportunity, you'd know I do have my own arguments, have shared them multiple times, and have tried my hardest to be reasonable and sane. But I'm sure you didn't know that.)

I didn't. I just saw your comment that *you* were about to push the big red button, when you came along and noticed that Artw had done exactly that, so assumed that you were about to stay behind and continue to argue for a position that had been repeatedly and explicitly rejected by the mods and the larger community.

Not sure why you think my position constitutes threadshitting, when it's precisely the same position as the one that harriet vane (a pro spoiler person) has also been advocating.

These arguments that you have? Are they somehow different from any of the arguments that have been repeated ad infinitum in this thread already? Because from where I sit, what your comment appeared to be suggesting was that despite the fact that the mods have continuously and repeatedly outlined the site policy, your intention is to follow Artw in refusing to accept that decision and continuously demand changes that you've already been told aren't going to happen.

Given that, I'm not sure I'm the one whose views can be characterised as threadshitting. I believe I've been nothing other than eminently reasonable in this thread, other than getting slightly ticked off over Artw repeatedly mischaracterising my views and explicitly calling me a liar, apropos of nothing at all.

I was responding to your statement that you intend to stay here solely to continue Artw's fighty mission. I'm far from the only person in this thread to characterise that mission as at best, hectoring, at worst, bullying and utterly and unreasonable. If the continuation of that quest really is your sole reason for remaining on Metafilter, as you suggested, then you really might want to reconsider that.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:00 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you point to recent examples of "people who take malicious joy in ruining the surprise for others"? Can anyone? People keep repeating this, but haven't noticed it. A few cites would be nice...

...

I'm having a hard time distinguishing general-spoilers GRAR from specific-to-GOT GRAR, but from what I saw the Game of Thrones thread was about as well behaved as anybody can hope to have on mefi. (Unless there were comments mods deleted.) Many people were nice and labeled spoilers at the top of their posts while a couple people didn't, either out of ignorance or excitement. With the exception of the outright lie early in the thread, people were extremely careful not to reveal unforeseeable or major spoilers from a decade-old series of books rife with crazy events. Everybody should be pretty happy about how that thread went down, and I think it was a really good compromise between the spoilers/no-spoilers crowds.

That's the funniest part of this whole conversation. That GOT thread has virtually ZERO spoilers (which I noted in the thread yesterday.)

Some of y'all are all pissed that people are posting "maliciously" cuz somebody (BONEHEAD!) made a comment about TYRION'S NOSE (!) way down in an AskMe thread? Really?

The fact that the GOT thread elicited this sort of vitriol (and 1.5 flameouts) from both sides of the debate indicates to me that an universally accepted "spoiler" text treatment is sorely needed.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:07 PM on June 16, 2011


The fact that the GOT thread elicited this sort of vitriol (and 1.5 flameouts) from both sides of the debate indicates to me that an universally accepted "spoiler" text treatment is sorely needed.

What problem would it solve that is currently unfixable by any other means?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:10 PM on June 16, 2011


*Sigh* :(
posted by schyler523 at 12:12 PM on June 16, 2011


GoT is a different case to Doctor Who or Six Feet Under. I didn't read the Doctor Who thread because I'm not up to date and I didn't read the Six Feet Under thread because I've never watched the show, but intend to. Game of Thrones is shiny and new on TV and millions of people have just been introduced to the first part of it, but there's a book series that has been around forever. Bringing up the books in a post about the TV series isn't a spoiler, it's a derail and should be flagged as such.
posted by IanMorr at 12:16 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


cuz somebody (BONEHEAD!) made a comment

I did not make the comment you are referring to. Just to make that absolutely crystal clear.
posted by bonehead at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


> The fact that the GOT thread elicited this sort of vitriol (and 1.5 flameouts) from both sides of the debate indicates to me that an universally accepted "spoiler" text treatment is sorely needed.

At least one of those flameouts is from a serial-flamerouter, who will no doubt be back posting up a storm in no time. I think you might be conflating an unsatisfactory to everyone spoilers policy with petulant behavior.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:32 PM on June 16, 2011


As I said before, Game of Thrones is particularly sensitive to spoiler issues, I'm not surprised people are getting emotional on it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:35 PM on June 16, 2011


OK... the fact that what I consider to be absolute cuntish behaviour (for instance - throwing spoiler bombs into this thread) has been allowed to stand has really made me consider just how far what I consider to be reasonable behaviour the norms of this site actually are.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:39 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(for instance - throwing spoiler bombs into this thread)

Who's throwing spoiler bombs?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:41 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(for instance - using the word "cuntish")
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:42 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW, Artw says he's never coming back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:48 PM on June 16, 2011


throwing spoiler bombs into this thread

?
posted by rtha at 12:50 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who's throwing spoiler bombs?

Here and here for instance
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:51 PM on June 16, 2011


See, one of the reasons Game of Thrones is so tough to handle with this stuff is that those posts, simply by admitting the character is still alive later are a form of spoiling. One of the features of the story is the "anybody can die" nature of it which the show just illustrated for the viewers very dramatically.

Obviously that sort of thing is too nuanced for any enforcement here even if there was any, I'm just pointing it out to illustrate how sensitive this story is to this kind of thing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:56 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the features of the story is the "anybody can die" nature of it which the show just illustrated for the viewers very dramatically.

Would you please include a spoiler alert? Geez, it's like nobody's listening!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:59 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(for instance - using the word "cuntish")

yeah, actually it would have more ironic to use twatish
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:59 PM on June 16, 2011


What story wouldn't be affected by knowing a main character lives/dies? That doesn't even remotely sound unique to me.
posted by nomisxid at 1:00 PM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The point is that you can say, "Man, I really liked Matthew Perry in season 5 of Friends." and it's not a spoiler that Chandler has not yet been slaughtered in the same way that it would be on a show like Game of Thrones.
posted by ODiV at 1:03 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


More's the pity.
posted by Drastic at 1:05 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


What story wouldn't be affected by knowing a main character lives/dies? That doesn't even remotely sound unique to me.

It's pretty rare for main characters to die in most stories. It happens, but if I told you Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker survived all the way you would probably already have assumed that.

Don't you have that moment in TV shows where there is a huge action scene but you are bored out of your mind because you already knows who has to win? Game of Thrones never has that moment.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:10 PM on June 16, 2011


Was just reading through the thread again trying to catch subtle spoilers and eyeballkid's early comment is pretty much "this character survives through the books" and I wouldn't have thought to spoiler it or anything. That's kind of interesting.
posted by ODiV at 1:12 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We've done as much to the FAQ as we are going to."

That's great! Because I've written it for you, so you don't really need to do anything. You can add it to the new user page or wherever if you don't think it'll do any good in the FAQ.

"While we'll add a NSFW tag or indicator to a link or a post [and this is one of the rare cases where we'll edit without a user's express request] we're actually not going to do the same thing for spoilers."

That's totally not what I wrote. This is why it sounds like we're talking past each other. You're not listening to what I'm saying.

"If we tell people how to behave in the FAQ there's a strong implication that we'll be moderating the site based on those how-to-behave statements."

Really didn't read what I wrote. Thanks.

"There is no penalty or punishment for posting unmarked spoilers or NSFW content, but marking them is a nice, community-minded thing to do."
posted by Eideteker at 1:12 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"If I don't put a spoiler alert thing in a comment I'm making, it's not because I'm rude, thoughtless, or malicious.

It's because it's something I don't think of as a spoiler."


Great! We've already covered this!
posted by Eideteker at 1:14 PM on June 16, 2011


It's pretty rare for main characters to die in most stories.

Romeo & Juliet
Hamlet

SPOILER, all these title characters die, and have been dieing on stage, in one form or another, for hundreds of years, yet those stories still seem to entertain.
posted by nomisxid at 1:15 PM on June 16, 2011


OK... the fact that what I consider to be absolute cuntish behaviour (for instance - throwing spoiler bombs into this thread) has been allowed to stand has really made me consider just how far what I consider to be reasonable behaviour the norms of this site actually are.

Oh sheesh. They're not being cunts, or behaving "cuntishly" (isn't the C-word a little off limits? IIRC?) They're stating that they don't think these elements are spoilers, and explaining why they don't. No one is deliberately placing spoilers as a way to be jerks (which is what's implied by the term "bomb")--they're behaving differently than you do because their definition of a spoiler is different than yours.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:17 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here and here for instance

I have started reading book 1 and have seen part of episode 1. I would not have considered the comments you linked to spoilers.

Great! We've already covered this!


Except you went on to say that I should keep in mind what *I* would have considered a spoiler if I were a first-time watcher. The problem is then - and I don't know how this is solvable - that what I'd consider a spoiler, you may not. I can make as good-faith an effort as I can, and yet! We are different people. I will think "Hmm, did [thing in story] surprise me when it happened? Did it seem important to me the first time around? No. Okay then! [discusses thing]." And then somebody gets pissed off because they *do* consider it important. And they call me an asshole.
posted by rtha at 1:19 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't forget Caesar! It happens, especially in tragedies, but I wouldn't tell someone the end of the play if I knew they didn't know it which is pretty common with newer works. The deaths in those cases are major parts of the climax of the stories, but with Game of Thrones people keel over out of nowhere, there is no grand epic tragedy to it which is part of the point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:20 PM on June 16, 2011


with Game of Thrones people keel over out of nowhere, there is no grand epic tragedy to it which is part of the point.

What? Really? A certain recent death seemed pretty epically tragic because character in question sold out his/her usual ethical standards in hopes of holding on to life just before shit went down.

(In fact, that's why I started shouting to the television that so-and-so was going to die during that scene. Where else can you go from there? The husband insisted I was wrong. I win! Ha!)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2011


And they call me an asshole.

...and then you wonder why the fuck they're reading about something they don't want to know about.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2011


I wouldn't tell someone the end of the play

Finally a reason to praise the fact that the series is years away from being completed =p
posted by nomisxid at 1:31 PM on June 16, 2011


Artw says he's never coming back.

You can't see it, but this is my sad face. I hope he changes his mind, because his contributions have made this site a better place by far.

posted by quin at 1:35 PM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Except you went on to say that I should keep in mind what *I* would have considered a spoiler if I were a first-time watcher. The problem is then - and I don't know how this is solvable - that what I'd consider a spoiler, you may not."

Right, which is why I said what *you'd* consider a spoiler. Over and done. No one is asking you to be Kreskin. Or even Cringely. Seriously, you're making this too hard (Spoiler: Beanplating!).

I'm not calling for anyone to be punished. I just think we should be excellent to each other, as was written in scripture.
posted by Eideteker at 1:42 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and then you wonder why the fuck they're reading about something they don't want to know about.

Keeping in mind, the thread started out being primarily about an actor on the TV program Game of Thrones, not Game of Thrones itself. If I didn't know this place well, I wouldn't necessarily expect a thread about the talented Peter Dinklage, some of his best roles, and an overview of his latest project to suddenly turn to details only available in the books, which a lot of people hadn't even heard of nine or ten weeks ago.

For casual viewers curious about an unusual actor, enjoying the program as it's airing, some of the details revealed might have been unexpected and unwanted.

I suspect the fact that some people don't seem to understand that as being the stumbling point here.
posted by quin at 1:43 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I suspect the fact that some people don't seem to understand that as being the stumbling point here.

Oh I see, that makes sense.

It seemed to be more a general spoilers complaint. My ignorance of the specifics led me to be a bit of a dick there. I'm sorry for being vulgar and contentious.

People should take it upon themselves to avoid reading about what they don't want spoiled, but in a thread about Peter Dinklage, I can see being perturbed by people chatting about books 3 and 4 of Game of Thrones.

I saw Dinklage as Richard III; he was excellent.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:54 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I just say that this whole thing of disabling an account on one site and then following the thread and tweeting about it is just some high school freshman bullshit?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:05 PM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Right, which is why I said what *you'd* consider a spoiler. Over and done. No one is asking you to be Kreskin. Or even Cringely. Seriously, you're making this too hard (Spoiler: Beanplating!).

Of course we're beanplating! Are we not mefites?! ;-)

I don't think I'm making this too hard, though, given the example I used, wherein fearfulsymmetry considered it, ah, bad form to drop the bit of info he linked to here, which I would not have considered a spoiler (and I don't consider the story to have been spoiled, and I haven't gotten to that bit of the story yet). If I had been the person to reveal it, he would presumably have considered that bad enough to call names over it.
posted by rtha at 2:09 PM on June 16, 2011


If you are concerned your definition is out of step with others the best bet is to consider all unaired content a spoiler and add a warning.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:13 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh sheesh. They're not being cunts, or behaving "cuntishly" (isn't the C-word a little off limits? IIRC?) They're stating that they don't think these elements are spoilers, and explaining why they don't. No one is deliberately placing spoilers as a way to be jerks (which is what's implied by the term "bomb")--they're behaving differently than you do because their definition of a spoiler is different than yours.

No. they are behaving differently to me because their definition of what is reasonable behaviour is is different to what I think it is. Now it may not be deliberately malicious, it could just unthinking or uncaring but it's still a bit of a cunt's trick.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:24 PM on June 16, 2011


Please stop using the c-word like that? It's really icky and makes it difficult to even talk about the subject at hand.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:25 PM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seriously, yes, cut it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:25 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Again: ?

It's unaired to me, and yet I don't feel spoiled. I'm sure there are plot points that, if revealed, would feel spoiler-y to me, but the one you linked to wasn't one of them.

Common sense and common courtesy and basic thoughtfulness all go a long way towards making threads about current media as non-intentionally spoilerful as possible and fun for most people, but it can still happen. And leaping to the assumption that the person who posted the thing you consider a spoiler did so to fuck with people (absent any obvious signs of fuckery) and calling them names is not courteous or thoughtful or helpful.

And again I'm left wondering: unaired to whom? Should an episode from two weeks ago not be discussed because people in country A haven't had it broadcast there yet? How are people in country B to know this? Etc.
posted by rtha at 2:25 PM on June 16, 2011


Now it may not be deliberately malicious, it could just unthinking or uncaring but it's still a bit of a c***'s trick.

WTF? You feel that someone having a different opinion than you gives you the right to call them names?

Man. The anti-spoiler folks might be all disappointed that they're seeing spoilers, but what I'm disappointed in is the anti-spoiler folks who feel they're completely justified in calling me an asshole, a malicious bastard, a c***, et cetera, simply because I disagree with their stance on spoilers.

In fact, the only name-calling and smearing I've seen has come from the anti-spoiler brigade. And I'm the bad guy?

That is seriously, seriously fucked up.
posted by palomar at 2:28 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one is deliberately placing spoilers as a way to be jerks (which is what's implied by the term "bomb")

I beg to differ; here are examples of spoilers for completely unrelated media properties dropped into a previous thread about these policies. It was done in a manner that was not necessary to make their point. "Am I allowed to post spoilers about Life on Mars or The Wire?" would have worked just fine.

Those spoilers are there to be just as axe-grindy as some of the no-spoiler posts have been. It's just from the "get over it, it's your problem" standpoint.

I guess the "folks should not participate in threads if they don't want stuff spoiled" attitude applies to metatalk, and to threads about any media property, not just the ones that any given thread is supposedly about.

Look, I don't think it's a reasonable expectation that you can read stuff on the internet and remain spoiler free. That's certainly not my expectation. Accidents will happen, I will see stuff I regret; that's my fault and I will own that.

What I find disappointing is that a number of folks in this community are actively resisting trying to prevent that from happening, even if it's just as a measure of consideration. Success isn't required. Trying would go a long way, though.

A number of folks' attitude appears to be "it's your problem, not ours, don't participate when there's any chance there may be spoilers in a thread, and if you don't like it, go to some other site. There are plenty that care about this; we choose not to. Oh, and we're tired of talking about it; don't bring it up."

I expect other communities on the net to behave that way; it's surprising and disappointing to see it done here, moreso to see it done so aggressively.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Instead of imposing a solution for your own problem on everyone else, catch up with the spoilers yourself. Exhibit some self control and avoid conversations about things you think might ruin your fun. Bookmark the FPP if you have to, and come back when you've finished. The discussion will still be there.

In the case of the thread mentioned in the OP, someone completely caught up with the television show would still have been spoiled because the spoilers posted openly were about things that happened with the book. Your 'solution' is faulty and doesn't encompass the issue at hand.

Also, not just to you, but to the thread in general: Could people really stop framing the argument as if people who don't want spoilers don't want people to discuss things? I haven't seen a single anti spoiler person say anything about stopping discussion; rather, every suggestion has been about marking spoilers and giving warning that you're about to spoil something so that the people who don't want to be spoiled can skip ahead.

(also for fuck's sake I just added Six Feet Under to my Netflix queue and I come back to this thread to see unmarked, out-of-nowhere ending spoilers. Classy.)
posted by flatluigi at 2:30 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


How do I constantly hose links when posting?

Life on Mars post: here.

Wire post: here.

posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 2:32 PM on June 16, 2011


And again I'm left wondering: unaired to whom? Should an episode from two weeks ago not be discussed because people in country A haven't had it broadcast there yet? How are people in country B to know this? Etc.

One airing is enough. The different airdates issue is on the reader, you can't reasonably assume people will be aware of all of them. That said, it would certainly be a spoiler if you told anyone in that situation what happened intentionally.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:35 PM on June 16, 2011


Now it may not be deliberately malicious, it could just unthinking or uncaring

Me not thinking that a thing is a spoiler when you do is not me being malicious or unthinking or uncaring. It's me having a different idea about what a spoiler is. The vast majority of GoT is unaired (to me), and I did go into the fpp for a bit in part to try to figure out if I wanted to read and watch the whole thing. I don't feel that the story has been particularly spoiled for me, in large part because I know so little about it that I really don't have a sense of what's "important" and what isn't. That's my particular standard for this particular bit of media; it clearly isn't yours.

I don't think you're an asshole for having a different definition of what a spoiler is. I do think it's pretty dickish that you seem to think I have to adopt your definition, and if I don't, it's because I want to be mean and uncaring.
posted by rtha at 2:40 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who's throwing spoiler bombs?

Here and here for instance


Those are NOT "spoiler bombs" by any rational measure.

Or rather, please explain what my comment spoils and how.

What? Really? A certain recent death seemed pretty epically tragic because character in question sold out his/her usual ethical standards in hopes of holding on to life just before shit went down.

Jeez, spoiler alert, eh? Also, I think you've got it wrong:

Arq qbrfa'g "fryy bhg uvf/ure hfhny rguvpny fgnaqneqf va ubcrf bs ubyqvat ba gb yvsr" - ur pbasrffrf gb n pevzr ur qvq abg pbzzvg orpnhfr ur guvaxf (fbzrubj fghcvqyl, vzb) gung pbasrffvat jvyy fnir gur yvirf bs uvf gjb qnhtugref. ... Jung V qba'g haqrefgnaq vf jul ur guvaxf pbasrffvat jvyy fnir gurz. Nsgre ur trgf fuvccrq bss gb gur Avtug Jngpu, gura jung sbe Fnafn/Neln? Ubj pbhyq ur fnir gurz? ... Gung Fghcvq Arq Fgnex zrzr znxrf n ybg bs frafr.

(Chrome | Firefox | Web app)

Maybe you're talking about another death, though. It's really hard to have or follow a convesation about ASOIAF without a freaking spoiler tag...

(also for fuck's sake I just added Six Feet Under to my Netflix queue and I come back to this thread to see unmarked, out-of-nowhere ending spoilers. Classy.)

In the SFU thread, but in this thread? No. There is only the jokey "everybody dies" which is certainly not a spoiler because everybody doesn't really die. There, I un-spoiled it for you.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:45 PM on June 16, 2011


One airing is enough. The different airdates issue is on the reader, you can't reasonably assume people will be aware of all of them. That said, it would certainly be a spoiler if you told anyone in that situation what happened intentionally.

Recall that it was the week-long delay between the UK and the US airings of Dr. Who that started this latest goround. Sensitivity for these things cartinly doesn't hurt.

That said, this is something the rest of the world has to come to term with with. We're frequently a season or two behind the US/UK runs.
posted by bonehead at 2:52 PM on June 16, 2011


Yeah, I'd say the same thing on Dr. Who or any other show. It is a spoiler, but it's a type of spoiler that it is on the reader to avoid, you don't need a warning to know people will be talking about a show that already aired in a thread about the show.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:56 PM on June 16, 2011


Dag, this has gotten really ugly. I think MeFi usually handles dischord better than this, but of course no site is perfect. I would personally be in favor of the implementation of a "spoiler" tag that renders invisible the text within it unless a reader chooses to highlight it - this seems to work pretty well on a lot of dedicated comics sites that I read from time to time. It doesn't require any additional mod policing (insofar as I can tell) and seems to be a pretty elegant compromise. Now, this wouldn't be the first time I've suggested a site functionality change which was in fact worlds more technologically difficult that I've assumed, but it's something worth considering. (and I apologize if this has been considered and rejected already - I read all the mod comments in this thread and skimmed the rest because, honestly, this thread bums me out and I've seen mention of other spoiler bombs flying about, so I'm treading carefully in this particular one)

What would you think about that, Team Mod? Again, very sorry if you've already responded to this and I didn't catch it.

Of course, the social contract problem would still remain - that is, there wouldn't be any good way to compel users to use the spoiler tag, just like there's no good way to forbid users from posting spoilers. I tend to just stay the hell out of any and all internet discussions about stories I might like to experience someday because assuming the best behavior of the internet is, generally speaking, a fatal error. So, I guess I miss out on some conversations, which is a bummer, but I got through the entirety of Battlestar Galactica years after the fact without having any big reveals blown, so I reckon it's worth it.

Lastly, as with any social situation, the only thing one is fully in control of is their own responses to things. To wit: a few years ago, on this very site, the fate of a major character in the Harry Potter series was revealed to me before I got a chance to read the book in question. I was bummed and annoyed for some time, but when I got to the book that had been, in part, spoiled I tried to approach it with the attitude of "okay, I'm reading a Harry Potter book, and this one is, in part, the tale of the (spoiler) of (spoiler). I know that happens going into this - but I don't know how it happens, so let's find out! Knowing the Titanic sank at the end of the movie didn't diminish my enjoyment of that movie (Celine Dion did that) so let's not let this single datapoint ruin my experience of this tale."

Anyhow, that's where my head's at on this issue.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:05 PM on June 16, 2011


I actually have a pretty narrow definition of what I think to be uncivilised behaviour regarding spoilers. If a thread is obviously about a certain book, film etc then yes I'll avoid it if I do no want to be know anything potentially spoilering. And what is spoilering...? well it depends but generally any significant plot turn.

However if a post is about an actor in a tv show then I would kinda expect people to avoid talking about future events in the book series the show is based on so as to be considerate for people who have not read the books. Or at least give due warning if the can't possibly hold off.

And throwing those events into a thread that's about spoilering in the form of 'I don't think X is a spoiler' is either an act of maliciousness or stupidity
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:09 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Having seen all the episodes, I didn't expect to get spoiled. Why should I? I'm totally up-to-date on the show.

And then people come in talking about stuff in the books that has not happened on the show. The thread is not about the books, it's about the show. There should be a flag for people ruining the show for others in a thread ABOUT THE SHOW, but what would it be? Noise? Problematic, as they are still talking about GoT, and the mods who don't watch the show won't know what's wrong with the comments.

ArtW, way back when people were discussing Dr. Who, posted a very respectful, polite thread request on Metatalk to ask UK users to not spoil the thread for those watching in the US because the episodes aired later there. Seemed perfectly reasonable to me. But instead, there's silly, pointless snark right out of the gate (by the way, the post is NOT a run-on sentence, as it is properly punctuated, but I digress) and a user telling ArtW that if he doesn't like spoilers than he should illegally download the show. Said comment got 18 favorites.

Mods, why was that okay?

Think about that for a minute. Using spoiler tags or waiting until the episode has aired for everyone (a matter of a few days) vs downloading an illegal torrent of a show airing in another country. Which is the more reasonable stance? And which, as a matter of policy, is more conducive to a "community' like Mefi?

So ArtW gets pissed off, and I don't blame him. When that frustration comes out in the GoT thread, he is given a hard time over what, in other contexts, would be called a "tone argument"; i.e. people don't like the way he argues his point. Which is ironic because he is basically arguing for common courtesy. For those asking what the big deal is about GoT ("just a television show"), the problem is the lack of an effective spoiler policy.

At best, it's totally and completely fine and how this place has operated for years and years.

Sorry, cortex, but that's really dismissive, considering how many posts we've had about spoilers.

So furiousxgeorge tries to come up with something to put in the FAQ, and the mods do make some changes, but seem curiously reluctant to just spell it out: Metafilter is not a spoiler-free zone. Eidetaker comes up with a politely-worded request to put in the FAQ, and that's shot down, too.

Why we have flags for "noise" and not for "spoiler", I don't know. Seems to me that second is a lot more contentious issue than the first, and a lot more specific. How hard would it be to have a spoiler flag? If you've got a lot of "spoiler" flags on a comment, the mods delete it as a spoiler. Person can resubmit comment with spoiler tag. Problem solved.

I don't think anyone seriously expects the mods to watch every show or read every book. Of course that's unreasonable! But for the fans in a thread, that spoiler flag would sure help us out when people are being asshats.

And yes, some people are asshats about spoilers. I'm speaking specifically about people who post spoilers on purpose, without spoiler tags, and then get mad when others complain and say that their freedom to post is being infringed. You can always post what you want, but that doesn't mean it won't get flagged, and asking someone to put a SPOILER tag before a spoiler does not mean the terrorists have won or something.

I'm really disappointed that we have this aggressive policy about people using the c-word and yet spoilers are considered a non-issue. I'm starting to flag all spoilers as "other" because that's really the only option I have.
posted by misha at 3:10 PM on June 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: I agree with you wholeheartedly that tags are the easiest and most elegant way of marking spoilers and would love to see them implemented on MetaFilter, but the request was denied recently by the mod team. If I recall correctly, it was because the issue just wasn't big or important enough to spend time coding it up (and as far as I could tell nothing to do with the mods' position on spoilers).
posted by flatluigi at 3:17 PM on June 16, 2011



I'm really disappointed that we have this aggressive policy about people using the c-word and yet spoilers are considered a non-issue.


The former is a derogatory insult, the latter is a point of personal preference about which reasonable people differ. I'm not sure if that clears it up for you, but it should. If it doesn't, you may want to consider why not.
posted by OmieWise at 3:18 PM on June 16, 2011


but seem curiously reluctant to just spell it out: Metafilter is not a spoiler-free zone.

I really don't see how it isn't spelled out:

We added a specific line to the FAQ: MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.

Truly. I don't understand the difference between what you're asking for and what has been put in the FAQ. What am I missing?
posted by rtha at 3:21 PM on June 16, 2011


Wanting a site free of derogatory insults is personal preference about which reasonable people differ.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:22 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with you wholeheartedly that tags are the easiest and most elegant way of marking spoilers and would love to see them implemented on MetaFilter, but the request was denied recently by the mod team.

Ah, well alright then. Too bad.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:23 PM on June 16, 2011


And MetaFilter is not free of derogatory insults either. In fact if you never wanted to see the c-word again, I'd advise you not to read MetaFilter despite its anti-sexist guidelines.
posted by ODiV at 3:24 PM on June 16, 2011


.And then people come in talking about stuff in the books that has not happened on the show. The thread is not about the books, it's about the show.

Threads are about whatever the people in the thread are talking about, and it's exceedingly rare that the mods do anything about people going 'off topic'.

The post was about Game of Thrones, and anything Game of Thrones related is fair game. The thread was full of people who had read the books that wanted to talk about the books, and I don't think it's my place to tell them that they can't do it. If you were that concerned about spoilers, you should have bailed from the thread as soon as they started talking about the books. I haven't read the books and am watching the show, so i just kind of skimmed the rest of the thread after that point.

Yes, i would prefer that we had a spoiler tag, but jeez, if you don't want to read something, don't read it. It's incredibly rude to tell people who are excited to talk about something to shut up just because you haven't read or seen what they're talking about yet.
posted by empath at 3:27 PM on June 16, 2011


Before this derail gets worse, I really have to point out that fearfulsymmetry is British and the casual use of 'cunt' is understandable (if still fairly bad in the contexts of an American-centric website) and I really don't think equating spoilers and bigotry is good in any way! As bad as getting spoiled on something is, it only seriously affects my enjoyment of a piece of media and has absolutely no effect on my life as a whole.
posted by flatluigi at 3:28 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are people truly up in arms over the comments fearfulsymmetry linked to? I'm really not attempting to be snarky here, but I'm really curious what that bit of information ruins about GOT. I say this as somebody who's fairly apathetic about spoilers, sometimes actively avoiding them and occasionally seeking them out. Is it that the character stays around long enough for that to happen to him? Is it the event happens at all? Is it that you think that will be a major pivotal event in Season whatever and now you've got nothing to look forward to in that season? Does that bit of information somehow help you puzzle out other major plot twists, and if so, how? I sometimes avoid spoilers specifically about the end of a series if I'm coming to it very late, such as Lost or the Hunger Games, so I can understand the general impulse, but I don't understand how knowing a datapoint from the middle of the journey can be so damaging.

And it seemed to me that most of the book-conversation that happened in the GOT thread was within the context of the show, not some completely unanchored discussion about books 2-4 or what people expect to see in book 5. The bit of info that fearfulsymmetry linked to above was specifically about the actor and character the thread was about, and whether HBO would have the guts to ugly him up if/when the time comes. Considering show-Tyrion is not nearly as ugly as book-Tyrion just from the outset, that seems like a legitimate point of discussion to me. Likewise, the discussion about the Stark kids came up in the context of how the show had chosen to adapt the book, which also seems like a legitimate discussion because it was about decisions the show had made. There was absolutely no discussion about events from book 2-4 that did not directly connect to the events from the show, and I can see how people would get so frustrated about spoilers if that had happened. But there is no way to simply draw a line between "only discuss the show" and "only discuss the books." The line that was drawn in the GOT thread seemed pretty reasonable to me: stuff that was directly related to season 1 or the subject of the post, and no major spoilers allowed.
posted by lilac girl at 3:29 PM on June 16, 2011


. I'm speaking specifically about people who post spoilers on purpose

This is like the 10th time someone has said this. Name names, please.
posted by empath at 3:29 PM on June 16, 2011


It's incredibly rude to tell people who are excited to talk about something to shut up just because you haven't read or seen what they're talking about yet.

Again, people are talking about tagging not deleting or ending the discussion. We have had threads focused on the books, and that is a different case. No matter how excited you are, it's good courtesy to think of the many people who don't know anything but the show who are entering a thread about the show.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:30 PM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Yes, i would prefer that we had a spoiler tag, but jeez, if you don't want to read something, don't read it.

Which would be a lot easier to do if you knew you didn't want to read something before you read it! Therein lies the issue at hand.

> It's incredibly rude to tell people who are excited to talk about something to shut up just because you haven't read or seen what they're talking about yet.It's incredibly rude to tell people who are excited to talk about something to shut up just because you haven't read or seen what they're talking about yet.

Again, nobody's trying to end discussion! It's a question of people marking spoilers vs spoiling things outright.
posted by flatluigi at 3:32 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


The former is a derogatory insult, the latter is a point of personal preference about which reasonable people differ.

There's plenty of argument over just how derogatory the c-word is (in parts of the UK is it very mild) is, even more so over the t-word (oh how silly that seems to type) which is generally considered not even swearing in the uk.

But people are expected to use language that is not offensive to others, you know to show consideration to others feelings and wishes. I just think that should be same in other areas.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:33 PM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


What would you think about that, Team Mod? Again, very sorry if you've already responded to this and I didn't catch it.

We've talked about the spoiler-tag concept before and while we get the notion behind it and think it's an entirely understandable suggestion, it's not something we're planning to do for a number of reasons both technical and social, is the short version.

ArtW, way back when people were discussing Dr. Who, posted a very respectful, polite thread request on Metatalk to ask UK users to not spoil the thread for those watching in the US because the episodes aired later there. Seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

As a request I think it was reasonable if maybe something that'd make more sense as a comment in the appropriate thread than as a Metatalk post. But Artw had also been one of the most vocal parties in in a recent, lengthy spoilers metatalk, which I think pretty predictably left some people feeling a little less neutral about the whole thing than they otherwise would have, and I'm sure was part of Artw being primed toward impatience with other people in there as well.

That said, someone making a weak snark about grammar is pretty unremarkable and someone suggesting torrenting as a general possible solution to media-savvy people on the internet in a metatalk comment is hardly beyond the pale. Whether or not it's an ideal or morally unambiguous solution is kind of a different issue entirely from whether spoiler policy on mefi should change or not.

Sorry, cortex, but that's really dismissive, considering how many posts we've had about spoilers.

We have had many posts over the years about adding features to mefimail, as well, basically all of which have been answered with "no, we're not doing that". It's not dismissiveness to say no, and it's not dismissiveness to say "I hear where you're coming from, I get the your idea and it's reasonable, but it's not how this place has worked and we don't intend to change that".

I'm really disappointed that we have this aggressive policy about people using the c-word and yet spoilers are considered a non-issue.

These are wildly different issues, only one of which ties into a really fucked up history of systemic misogyny and verbal abuse. I am boggled that they would be treated as remotely equivalent.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:35 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm speaking specifically about people who post spoilers on purpose
"This is like the 10th time someone has said this. Name names, please.


These Premises Are Alarmed
posted by Mitheral at 3:41 PM on June 16, 2011


These Premises Are Alarmed

That's the nth time someone has pointed to that lone example, which can hardly be construed as posting spoilers on purpose. Are there any other examples.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:44 PM on June 16, 2011


The poster considered that a spoiler, which is why the warning was used in the original thread. It's hard not to consider it on purpose, but it isn't from the original thread in question.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:46 PM on June 16, 2011


Artw's dander is still fresh. I retain hope for his return.
posted by Trurl at 3:46 PM on June 16, 2011


The comment in the original GOT thread.

It's labeled with "mild spoiler." Isn't that what was requested? Is the argument that the comment should be deleted entirely, or that it wasn't labeled well enough? Because it seems pretty clearly labeled to me.
posted by lilac girl at 3:47 PM on June 16, 2011


Because it seems pretty clearly labeled to me.

But not when it was repeated here. Several times.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:48 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seems like a lot of people are doing that. Repeating things, I mean.

How's that working out?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:02 PM on June 16, 2011


I'm sorry, I must have misread this conversation. I assumed the conversation was still about spoilers in the original thread, not about ones within this one. Apologies for my tone. Though, honestly, I'm a little confused why people would enter a metatalk thread about GOT spoilers and not expect some level of spoilers about GOT. At the very least, the thread needs to point out what was spoiled, and it's not unreasonable to assume the conversation ends in a back-and-forth about what is and isn't a spoiler so everyone's on the same page for future reference. How else do you resolve the differences between "I don't see X as a spoiler because..." and "well I do and here's why..."?
posted by lilac girl at 4:04 PM on June 16, 2011


Hey guys, I know there's been a lot of grumbling (including from me) about the necessity of something like this, so I was a bad employee today and spent a few hours setting up a message board called The MetaCooler where we can talk about TV shows and stuff and there's even a spoiler tag. I'll put up a projects page too. So if anyone wants to come talk about TV, come on over.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:18 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are there any other examples.

Repeating my examples, with triple-checked html this time.

Spoilers for The Wire and Life on Mars in a metatalk thread that sprung from a thread about neither of those series.

How do I know it's deliberate? Repeated posts on the subject of "look, if knowing what happens ruins it, it's terrible writing". Another example: Halo 3. See also the "that's your problem" defense.

You can discuss a spoiler by alluding to it. Makes your point to folks that know and makes an effort to preserve the mystery for those that don't. I know they're capable of that because they allude to spoilers in Source Code while repeating the Wire spoiler in the same sentence.

Stating your opinion that they don't matter, deliberately dragging them in whenever possible, and telling people that get upset that they need to get over it? Something else entirely.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 4:26 PM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sweet.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:34 PM on June 16, 2011


If you were that concerned about spoilers, you should have bailed from the thread as soon as they started talking about the books.

empath, you just told me to bail on my own post about the SHOW because other people posted spoilers about the books. Sorry, I don't think that follows.

rtha: "but seem curiously reluctant to just spell it out: Metafilter is not a spoiler-free zone.

I really don't see how it isn't spelled out:

We added a specific line to the FAQ: MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.

Truly. I don't understand the difference between what you're asking for and what has been put in the FAQ. What am I missing?
"

rtha, you're right. I didn't see that that change had actually been made at the bottom of the spoiler section of the FAQ.

I'd prefer, instead of, "please try to be polite and include them inside the thread or a [more inside] section rather than in the post itself," the FAQ said, "please try to be polite and warn readers when commenting with a spoiler in a thread."

cortex, my point about the c-word issue was that there was a lot of backlash when some American users in a specific thread objected to its use, and the mods weighed in and basically said that their official opinion was, "If you know something is objectionable to a lot of users, why do it?"

But when it comes to spoilers, there seems to be some resistance to just saying, "if you know posting spoilers in a thread without at least a spoiler tag is objectionable to a lot of users, why do it?"

I'd still like a spoiler flag. Which, seriously, can't be any harder to implement than changing hyphens to minuses. Is this something I should make a pony request about?
posted by misha at 4:36 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


So all of your examples of people intentionally spoiling stuff were in metatalk threads specifically about what is or is not a spoiler?

It seems like the solution is to just stop starting metatalk threads about spoilers, then.

You can discuss a spoiler by alluding to it. Makes your point to folks that know and makes an effort to preserve the mystery for those that don't. I know they're capable of that because they allude to spoilers in Source Code while repeating the Wire spoiler in the same sentence.

No. This is not acceptable. I'm not going to use baby talk and circumlocutions to talk about stuff that I want to talk about. Until or unless metafilter gets spoiler tags, your option is to not read threads about shows you haven't seen if you don't want to be spoiled. No one is making you read them. Telling people what they are or are not allowed to talk about is not acceptable to me.
posted by empath at 4:37 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Telling people what they are or are not allowed to talk about is not acceptable to me.

I think we're still talking about tagging.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:39 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in favor of spoiler tags. People are specifically talking about what to do now in the absence of spoiler tags.
posted by empath at 4:40 PM on June 16, 2011


empath, you just told me to bail on my own post about the SHOW because other people posted spoilers about the books.

Moderating and policing your own threads has never been cool. You don't get to say "Hey, let's talk about this thing, but let's not talk about too much, and only talk about what I want you to talk about."
posted by empath at 4:42 PM on June 16, 2011


Empath, what you're actually advocating is that I should not read threads about media properties in general (since topics can morph without restriction or warning), and I should not read threads about policies I have an interest in changing.

I realize this topic is far less consequential than something like sexism, but I've seen you tear into folks for employing these tactics when discussing that subject. If someone deployed the "I don't want to change my behavior to make you feel better" and "your behavior invited the objectionable experience" lines in the recent booth babes thread, would you have let them get away with it?
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 4:44 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, you should not read things which are objectionable.

I realize this topic is far less consequential than something like sexism

Yes, it is.
posted by empath at 4:45 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean tagging it with a spoiler warning. Honestly I agree with you it's unnecessary in Metatalk but you keep repeating that people are trying to shut down discussion and that just isn't what people are asking for. Artw may have been going there, I think, but he is long gone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:46 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


> So all of your examples of people intentionally spoiling stuff were in metatalk threads specifically about what is or is not a spoiler?

It seems like the solution is to just stop starting metatalk threads about spoilers, then.

Really, empath? Never give trolls what they want.

> No. This is not acceptable. I'm not going to use baby talk and circumlocutions to talk about stuff that I want to talk about. Until or unless metafilter gets spoiler tags, your option is to not read threads about shows you haven't seen if you don't want to be spoiled. No one is making you read them. Telling people what they are or are not allowed to talk about is not acceptable to me.

How many times do you have to be told nobody that's anti-spoiler is trying to shut down discussion? I'm beginning to think you're being willfully mistaken.
posted by flatluigi at 4:50 PM on June 16, 2011


Spoilers for The Wire and Life on Mars in a metatalk thread that sprung from a thread about neither of those series.

How do I know it's deliberate? Repeated posts on the subject of "look, if knowing what happens ruins it, it's terrible writing". Another example: Halo 3. See also the "that's your problem" defense.


I'd not seen those before... and to me they seem malicious. If that sort of thing is seen as OK I'm not sure I want to actually spend time here now.

Might be an idea to have a bit of a holiday and see how I think in due course (... I've got other issues too)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


cortex, my point about the c-word issue was that there was a lot of backlash when some American users in a specific thread objected to its use, and the mods weighed in and basically said that their official opinion was, "If you know something is objectionable to a lot of users, why do it?"

The discussion about that word has been very long and complicated and involved a lot of acknowledgement that there are differing cultural expectations about the word in different places (including a fair amount of intranational disagreement about just how acceptable or not it in fact is in the UK or Australia), all of which would not have been nearly as much of an issue if it didn't happen to be basically the worst thing you could call a woman in the US. It is, notably, on a very short list of super volatile words, rather than one of a great big pile of things of equivalent weight. The whole thing is notable in no small part because it's such a tiny, specific bit of language interaction we're dealing with, and such a highly provocative one.

Avoiding spoilers is a conceptually far broader and far lower-stakes issue. This is not to say that it isn't something people can understandably care, even fairly strongly, about, but the comparison of the two remains completely off-kilter in my mind. The very general notion of trying not to be unkind to one another is about all that connects them.

And it's a good notion, that whole courtesy and kindness thing, and one I'm pretty big on, but suggesting that there's some equivalency between dropping nuclear-grade slurs into a conversation and giving away a bit of character detail is not something that helps that notion along in any meaningful way. It's counterproductive.

I'd still like a spoiler flag. Which, seriously, can't be any harder to implement than changing hyphens to minuses. Is this something I should make a pony request about?

Implementing a new flag would not be technically difficult, no, but I don't see it as something we're likely to do, for reasons that are not technical in nature.

As of right now, if there is a notably obnoxious spoiler situation, flagging it and dropping us an email is the way to make sure we're aware of it, and given that the context of spoilers is dependent on the media in question and that none of the mods reads every book and watches every show an email giving some context for why this is in fact a nasty spoiler situation isn't a bad idea anyway.

A spoiler flag would either (a) point us to relatively mild good-faith discussion of the sort that is not what we consider a problem or (b) point us to some egregious bit of bad behavior that would be likely to pick up a bunch of flags anyway and about which a quick heads up email would probably be a good idea.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:05 PM on June 16, 2011


I'm beginning to think you're being willfully mistaken.

There are a couple of different issues and different people are arguing different things.

Spoiler-Tags: Pro or con (I am pro). (I honestly don't think anyone is against them in principle except the mods, as far as I can tell.)

Moderators enforcing the use of spoiler tags if they exist -- I am against that, mostly because I think if they were around, most people would use them appropriately.

In the absence of spoiler tags, whether people should talk about spoilers: I am totally in favor of allowing people to talk about whatever they want to about any media. There are several people in this thread arguing that they should not be allowed to talk about spoilers, and several people have asked for a spoiler flag to mark them so they mods can delete them.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on June 16, 2011


misha is the only person asking for a spoiler flag and the only reason he or she states for wanting mods to delete a comment after it flagged that way is so that the poster of the comment can resubmit with a tag.

Give me more examples other than "several people" because otherwise I think you're fabricating deletionist people to further your point.
posted by flatluigi at 5:29 PM on June 16, 2011


Empath, I asked for a flag so mods could tag them/add warnings, not so they can be deleted.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:36 PM on June 16, 2011


I'm anti-spoiler. I don't like to be spoiled as a viewer, and I don't like it when spoiler information leaks about the show I work on. The show I work on (which doesn't have anything resembling the Internet fandom of Dr. Who or GoT) managed to keep the big surprise of our series finale under wraps this year, and I'm glad. The creators of shows dole out scenes and information in a very specific order to attempt to achieve a certain effect in the audience. Surprise does not have to be cheap or a gimmick. I personally have a hard time watching a television show unless I have seen every episode in the correct order, and I don't like to learn what happens before I see it unfold the way the way the creators intended for me to see it.

That being said, in this ever changing world in which we live in, it is unreasonable to expect to stay unspoiled without taking full responsibility for it yourself. When Dr. Who lagged a week in the US I read no threads about Dr. Who (including Artw's Meta thread, as I knew someone would post the spoilers there). I also unfollowed Steven Moffat's Twitter feed that week. To read a thread about Game of Thrones and hope not to see stuff from the books simply isn't reasonable. Therefore, one should avoid threads about anything they wish to not have spoiled for them. Sometimes this keeps me out of threads. Them is the breaks.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:37 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


empath, you just told me to bail on my own post about the SHOW because other people posted spoilers about the books.

Moderating and policing your own threads has never been cool.


I didn't want to police the thread, just participate in it, but according to you I shouldn't do that, because not expecting spoilers from the books on a thread about the show is...unreasonable? I guess? You are making my head hurt.

No. This is not acceptable. I'm not going to use baby talk and circumlocutions to talk about stuff that I want to talk about.

Anyway, it's clear you've gone beyond a good-faith discussion of the issue.

Avoiding spoilers is a conceptually far broader and far lower-stakes issue. This is not to say that it isn't something people can understandably care, even fairly strongly, about, but the comparison of the two remains completely off-kilter in my mind. The very general notion of trying not to be unkind to one another is about all that connects them.

Yeah, I can see that using that example was really a poor choice on my part, since I was really coming from the "just be kind" argument and ended up stepping into a pile of negative baggage associated with the c-word debate.

I'd still like a spoiler flag. Which, seriously, can't be any harder to implement than changing hyphens to minuses. Is this something I should make a pony request about?

Implementing a new flag would not be technically difficult, no, but I don't see it as something we're likely to do, for reasons that are not technical in nature.


Okay, then.
posted by misha at 5:38 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


To read a thread about Game of Thrones and hope not to see stuff from the books simply isn't reasonable. Therefore, one should avoid threads about anything they wish to not have spoiled for them. Sometimes this keeps me out of threads. Them is the breaks.

Exactly. I might want to go check out that Portal 2 thread on the blue, but since I'd rather not have the game spoiled for me, I'm not going in the thread until I've either finished the game or given up on the game.

There have been countless threads about various media that I opted not to participate in because I didn't want to be spoiled (Harry Potter, Mad Men, Portal 2, and on and on and on). It's not hard to do. You just... don't click on those threads.
posted by palomar at 5:49 PM on June 16, 2011


It's not particularly unreasonable not to talk about the show even if you have read the books. I mean, nobody ever dropped any True Blood or Dexter spoilers on me, and I think that is kind of the general default for most people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:52 PM on June 16, 2011


The thread started out being primarily about an actor on the TV program Game of Thrones, not Game of Thrones itself. If I didn't know this place well, I wouldn't necessarily expect a thread about the talented Peter Dinklage, some of his best roles, and an overview of his latest project to suddenly turn to details only available in the books, which a lot of people hadn't even heard of nine or ten weeks ago.

Just to illustrate the possible difficulty in determining what's a spoiler and not, since we were talking about the excellent casting of Dinklage, I made a few broad comments on the casting of other characters. I actually leaned towards being as broad as possible, so as to not give details away. That said, I did bring in information from the books, but in a way I thought was on-topic. I don't know if what I said would be considered a spoiler or not.

This thread has reminded me to be as considerate as possible re: spoilers, and I don't mind doing that at all, but I do think reasonable people might bring in broad ideas from the books during a discussion of the TV show. I do think reveals about specific characters are not so great, but I think there was really only one in that thread?
posted by lillygog at 6:00 PM on June 16, 2011


The discussion about that word has been very long and complicated and involved a lot of acknowledgement that there are differing cultural expectations about the word in different places (including a fair amount of intranational disagreement about just how acceptable or not it in fact is in the UK or Australia), all of which would not have been nearly as much of an issue if it didn't happen to be basically the worst thing you could call a woman in the US.

SPOILER -- THE 'C' WORD FOLLOWS.
If seeing that word traumatizes you, you might want to skip the rest of this comment.


I'd just like to point out that it was my continuing and somewhat excessive use of the word 'cunt' that provoked the long metatalk discussion of the issue.

I put up what I believe to be a spirited defence of the word. I grew up and continue to live in a culture that uses the word fairly casually, and noted that it's been used in anglo-saxon literature since Geoffrey Chaucer, and that to ban it was a piece of stupid bowdlerism for a US-centric misogynistic culture.

While I wasn't alone in my views on this issue, I was in a definite minority. The mods took the view that in order to placate the emotions of those who felt wounded by the use of that word, it shouldn't be tossed around casually on the blue -- and where it's used gratuitously on the gray, you'll be told fairly rapidly to 'knock it off', even though the gray takes a much more liberal view when it comes to deleting comments.

So, my view didn't prevail, and despite the fact that it was something I felt strongly about, the only sensible, adult thing to do under the circumstances was to accept the judgement of the moderators on the issue, and acknowledge that while I might continue to use the word 'cunt' from time to time, if I did so, my comment would probably be flagged to death and deleted -- regardless of how benign and non-misogynistic my intentions in using the word might be.

Over time, I've come to respect the compassion and the wisdom of the mods on this website, and even though I might sometimes disagree with a particular ruling, I'm happy to acknowledge that they're acting in the site's best interests, and that they sometimes will take positions that conflict with my own view of how the site should be run.

When that happens, they deserve my support, not my incessant whining about how I should be able to drop a 'c-bomb' wherever it suits me, because that's a central part of my culture. As a grown up, I'm expected to take responsibility for my actions -- and that means when site policy has had a reasonable airing, I either accept it, or I GTFO. What I *shouldn't* do, IMO, is to repeatedly bitch about it, like a kid hoping to wear his parents down in the hope that they'll simply get fed up and give in.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:24 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also:

SPOILER -- THE 'C' WORD FOLLOWS.

See, when I said I wasn't clear about what constitutes a spoiler, I really wasn't lying. Here I was emulating what I see other people posting and so I *thought* that was a spoiler (because it's labelled as such) but of course, it doesn't reveal any plot points at all, so technically isn't a spoiler according to the definitions I've seen in this thread.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:29 PM on June 16, 2011


TRIGGER ALERT: Words from the great boyzone convos included below.

When site policy (and general douchiness) leads to several great contributors leaving, there is something wrong. If people are going to continue to post untagged spoilers just because they can, even though a number of users have asked them not to, then why not use cunt and whore and douche? We only stopped using those words because some people didn't want to read them...

This place gets more and more ridiculous and less awesome everyday...
posted by schyler523 at 6:39 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If people are going to continue to post untagged spoilers just because they can, even though a number of users have asked them not to, then why not use cunt and whore and douche?

Because those two things are not remotely equivalent in the amount of harm and hurt they do.
posted by empath at 6:45 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If people are going to continue to post untagged spoilers just because they can, even though a number of users have asked them not to, then why not use cunt and whore and douche?
Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that those are not the same thing at all.
posted by lillygog at 6:48 PM on June 16, 2011


I'd definitely rather experience absolutely any insult you can come up with before I would want to be spoiled. If anyone really wants to get to me grab an advanced copy of A Dance with Dragons or MLP season two.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:53 PM on June 16, 2011


They are just words after all...and spoilers upset some people far more than vulgar words.
posted by schyler523 at 6:59 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd definitely rather experience absolutely any insult you can come up with before I would want to be spoiled. If anyone really wants to get to me grab an advanced copy of A Dance with Dragons or MLP season two.

That may be true for you, but I'd wager that over the course of human history the words cunt, whore, and douche have been used to threaten and oppress, in very real ways, large numbers of human beings. I don't believe spoilers have been used in that way.
posted by lillygog at 7:04 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I'd also like to add that I actually agree with the goal of being as sensitive to spoilers as possible. However, I really don't think equating spoilers to the use of the word cunt is logical or appropriate.)
posted by lillygog at 7:06 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, schyler523, the difference between a spoiler and the word "cunt" is that no one has ever leaned out of the window of a moving car to throw a full can of soda at me and then screamed out the plot twist from Deathtrap.
posted by palomar at 7:11 PM on June 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


I am aware of the history of oppression associated with the word douche and would not personally make that comparison.

The pain/annoyance some people experience from being spoiled is real is the point here, and you should avoid doing things that cause people pain unless you have a compelling reason not to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:12 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The pain/annoyance some people experience from being spoiled is real is the point here, and you should avoid doing things that cause people pain unless you have a compelling reason not to.

Sure, I can agree with that. But I would also respectfully point out that just because you'd rather be called an insulting word than spoiled, that doesn't go for everyone else. And the fact that you may be able to brush off slurs like that could be a form of privilege. Which you may very well take into consideration, but coupled with schyler523's comments it just seems worth being plain about.

On preview: palomar makes the point much more succinctly, and with more humor.
posted by lillygog at 7:22 PM on June 16, 2011


Sure, I can agree with that. But I would also respectfully point out that just because you'd rather be called an insulting word than spoiled, that doesn't go for everyone else.

I completely agree.

And the fact that you may be able to brush off slurs like that could be a form of privilege.

See, you aren't getting my point here. I can understand perfectly well why people feel pain from insults, I do too. Insults are meant to cause pain, that is their function. I don't brush them off, I get pissed and respond in kind.

My point is that for some people the pain from being spoiled, though completely different in nature to other forms of pain, also a form of pain. As I said, I would not have phrased that using misogynistic insults personally since that was just a silly example but I do agree that it's good courtesy not to spoil.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:32 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm having a hard time grasping that there have been four hundred comments that debate whether it makes sense to mark a spoiler for a thing that falls outside the scope of a thread with the word SPOILER. Obviously, there is no great way to enforce this behavior. But I think most of us can agree that this is basic internet etiquette. It is known.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:47 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I made the point using those words because we were all asked for common courtesy's sake to stop using them...

Now people are asking for the same common courtesy in regards to spoilers and some people could give a shit less that spoiling a plot for some people is really fucking lame and should be avoided. In particular, there are people that were part of the anti-insult words brigade that are actively campaigning against this spoiler thing, saying that they do not want anyone telling them what they can and cannot say. Ridiculous.
posted by schyler523 at 7:50 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I made the point using those words because we were all asked for common courtesy's sake to stop using them...

A word that is easy to identify and that we can easily make a clear "if you continue to use this word we may delete your comments or ban you" policy that is easy to understand and easy to enforce. The same is not true for spoilers. We'd like people to be considerate. People aren't always going to be considerate or even know how to be considerate. People are going to have to muddle through.

Spoilers are a situation where someone can intend no harm, or even make mistakes while being cognizant of the "please try to be considerate" request. Reasonable people could make a mistake or an error that results in someone getting some sort of spoiled. We've seen people do that accidentally in this thread probably more than in all of MeFi this week.

I don't have much more to say about this at this point, but please stop tossing the word cunt around. The two situations are not equivalent. I get your point but you're making it in a disturbing and aggressive way.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:05 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. Y'all are still at it.

Anyway, have watched all the previous episodes. Furiousgeorge, you spoiled that major character death for me. No biggie, just interesting how a few unintential words can give away parts of the story. Yet the episode was still quite enjoyable, the series does get better.

Try not to savage each other too much, you have to see other for the season finale, or True Blood premiere or whatever the next great piece of media is.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:11 PM on June 16, 2011


With the Larry Williams link? My bad. I thought that was pretty clearly not something to click on if you were avoiding spoilers and as I said before tags aren't really necessarily in a meta discussion about spoilers.

I'm glad you kept watching though, you should check out the books too if you want to avoid more TV spoilers. They add a ton of depth to the story.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:26 PM on June 16, 2011


MetaCooler seems overly aggressive with their LSO's.
posted by futz at 8:47 PM on June 16, 2011


I just like lotsa stuff on the teevee.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:07 PM on June 16, 2011


An insult is deliberate. A spoiler may not be. I understand that you may feel as pained by someone letting out a spoiler as you would if someone called you an asshole (for instance). But the spoiler-letting-out person may well have done so accidentally or incidentally, or genuinely did not think that what they said was a spoiler. Someone who calls you an asshole does not do so accidentally.
posted by rtha at 9:11 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, with autocorrect these days you never know. I don't really care if it is accidental or not, it's still just as annoying. My ideal policy is editing in tags, not punishing people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:18 PM on June 16, 2011


Well, since that's not going to happen, I guess you'll have to be equally irritated at people who inadvertently spoil and those who go out of their way to do so. That certainly sounds reasonable.
posted by rtha at 10:32 PM on June 16, 2011


So are we going to make my suggested additions to the FAQ or New User page?

I love how when I say something with perfect clarity, it gets misread, then when I clarify even further, it gets ignored. =(

I can't believe MetaFilter won't even make a token effort to remind users to be thoughtful and conscientious of one another. I'm not saying anyone's a bad person. It just helps to have a reminder now and again. That does not have to lead to screaming MetaTalk bitchfests (or complaintfests, not trying to be sexist here; it's late).

I need a hug. =(
posted by Eideteker at 10:48 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not sure why you think my position constitutes threadshitting, when it's precisely the same position as the one that harriet vane (a pro spoiler person) has also been advocating.

A minor, polite clarification: I am not pro-spoiler. Being spoiled sends me into a white-hot fury. However, I don't think the mods can police spoilers for us. It's impractical, leaves the mods with no free time, and is a heavier style of moderation than most people here enjoy for the rest of MeFi. I'm pro-tagging and pro-courteous-warning, and if those things were regularly used, I'd be pro-shutting-up-if-accidentally-spoiled.

I'm off to check out MetaCooler.
posted by harriet vane at 1:05 AM on June 17, 2011


I think the reason some people are getting so heated is because the general tone here is so at odds withwhat is normal here.

Courtesy and respect for others feelings even if we dont wholeheartedly agree with them is usually held up as the thing to do here and has been the principle on which a number of issues have have been discussed and how the social mores have been established.

So when people are basically told to suck it up or go elsewhere it seems at odds with how things are often done here.

There are parellels with the way we expect people to not use certain language, it isn't exactly the same but it is about how people view the site and how their enjoyment of the site can be hampered by people refusing to take a moment to consider how what they are saying might affect other people.

That principle of taking a second to think of others seems pretty sound and if employed across the board would make so many fighty Meta threads unneccessary.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:28 AM on June 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


There was the infamous Harry Potter issue [Metatalk thread] which is probably the best example of how dickish people can get.

This thread is very weird. Some people just appear to want to prolong an argument for argument's sake - and also using some very tired old nonsense to wave away what they're doing. There's a wealth of difference between spoilers for a 16th Century play and a TV series that's just aired for example. Plus, as has been repeatedly explained, no one is advocating the shutting down of discussion. Why is this misinterpretation being continually flagged up?

Also, I think it's very sad that this issue has resulted in ArtW leaving Metafilter. While I have had disagreements with him in the past, this site is a lot poorer for his absence.
posted by panboi at 3:24 AM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think the reason some people are getting so heated is because the general tone here is so at odds withwhat is normal here.

[...]

So when people are basically told to suck it up or go elsewhere it seems at odds with how things are often done here.


That isn't remotely what happened here. At best it's a radical simplification that perverts the sense of this conversation. I don't know why the spoiler haters, for all their "disappointment" and " sadness" have to be disingenuous in support of their version of events.
posted by OmieWise at 3:47 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pro-tagging and pro-courteous-warning, and if those things were regularly used, I'd be pro-shutting-up-if-accidentally-spoiled.

I think this is a great middle ground. I agree with OmieWise -- I didn't see the mods saying readers should "suck it up or go elsewhere". That's a mis-characterization of what I've read, at least. I see most commenters and the mods saying "people can try to be courteous, courteous is a good thing, but we cannot guarantee anything."
posted by lillygog at 5:10 AM on June 17, 2011


With the Larry Williams link? My bad. I thought that was pretty clearly not something to click on if you were avoiding spoilers and as I said before tags aren't really necessarily in a meta discussion about spoilers.

Nah, it was this comment. I knew what the latest episode was and which character was in danger. Like I said, no biggie, just interesting how one can piece together information without even thinking about it, based on a sentence or two.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 AM on June 17, 2011


Well, since that's not going to happen, I guess you'll have to be equally irritated at people who inadvertently spoil and those who go out of their way to do so. That certainly sounds reasonable.

That certainly sounds retarded, luckily I didn't say I would be irritated with the people. You know like how I said people shouldn't be punished for it. In the comment right above yours. I'm irritated with being spoiled, I don't care about the reasons.

Nah, it was this comment. I knew what the latest episode was and which character was in danger.

Well there are multiple main characters in danger, I think that comment was appropriately vague. But yeah, as I said before GoT is uniquely super sensitive to this kind of thing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:51 AM on June 17, 2011


furiousxgeorge, it's kind of amazing watching you brush off the fact that you spoiled something for someone right in this thread, given that you entered the thread like this: If a thread is about a TV show, talking about plot points that haven't aired yet is a spoiler. So mark it. This isn't fucking complex and you would have to be a massive fucking moron to think it's more complicated than that.
posted by palomar at 7:19 AM on June 17, 2011


Are you kidding? I've said spoilers are unaired content (the spoiler he is talking about had already aired) and that tags shouldn't be required in Metatalk, and that GoT is easy to unintentionally spoil. The comment was entirely vague even if BB was able to guess what it was referring to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:24 AM on June 17, 2011


> I've said spoilers are unaired content

For you they are. Others have indicated they think there are longer shelf lives for spoilers. This is why it is next to impossible to make people happy with any kind of site-side measure for spoilers in comment threads. And really, the fact that you've equated spoilers with misogyny has put a huge dent in your credibility on this.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:28 AM on June 17, 2011


I specifically said I would not use that comparison myself, but I guess the thread is just about twisting my words to score points now so go ahead with it guys.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:30 AM on June 17, 2011


No, you used it as a rhetorical device to score points so go ahead and own it.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:31 AM on June 17, 2011


I think it was more the "this isn't fucking complex" and "you'd have to be a massive fucking moron to think it's more complicated" is what sat wrong with me.

I mean, here you are, calling everyone who disagrees with you a fucking moron, and then you go and spoil something for someone, proving that yes, actually, it is a fucking complex issue. Or maybe you're a massive fucking moron? I'm not sure, you're the one who laid down the charge that anyone who can't figure out what makes a spoiler is a massive fucking moron.

I don't know, I think it would be cool if you could say you're sorry to BB, even if you don't think what you did was spoiling. That's essentially what we're all being asked to do, isn't it? Be considerate, post spoiler warnings before you post spoilers even if you personally think there's no way what you're about to post could be considered a spoiler -- that's the agreed-upon action, right?
posted by palomar at 7:33 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I already owned up to it and issued the informal apology phrase, "My Bad."

I have pointed out how complex and nuanced spoiling for Game of Thrones can be, but the definition of spoiler for a TV show that makes sense is unaired content because otherwise you are overwhelmed by the complexity of figuring what is and is not a spoiler. It is not reasonable to consider a purposefully vague comment about an already aired show to be required to be tagged in a discussion of a show, or else every comment must be tagged. And, as I said discussion of what is and is not a spoiler will neccesarily have spoilers. BB is well aware of this.

I have been entirely consistent on these points.

No, you used it as a rhetorical device to score points so go ahead and own it.

Actually, I wasn't the one who posted it and specifically said it was a silly comparison and that the pain of being spoiled is entirely different in nature. Don't let that stop you from trying to score your points though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:42 AM on June 17, 2011


I guess the thread is just about twisting my words to score points now so go ahead with it guys.

What else is there to do in these threads? ^_^ I think the mods have put this issue on autopilot, and we have to get over that. A technical solution is possible imo, but it's not insignificant in either development or site impact, so I can understand why it's not on anyone's task list.

If you're reading/watching/listening (?) some sort of book/movie/show/thing or planning to in the future, and you want to be "purely unspoiled" or whatever, you have to skip threads with plotlines that are already completed.

The mods have said they'll keep it off the front page (and FPP links clearly labeled as "includes spoilers"?). So, consider MeFi more as a place to discuss completed works, and not as a recommendation engine, and you will be OK.

Are you kidding? I've said spoilers are unaired content (the spoiler he is talking about had already aired) and that tags shouldn't be required in Metatalk, and that GoT is easy to unintentionally spoil.

That, in and of itself, is kind of a spoiler. A very minor one, yes.

See, one of the reasons Game of Thrones is so tough to handle with this stuff is that those posts, simply by admitting the character is still alive later are a form of spoiling. One of the features of the story is the "anybody can die" nature of it which the show just illustrated for the viewers very dramatically.

And that's another spoiler. There's really only been one surprise death yet. You've indicated there will be more. Even if its minor and still "no duh" it's maybe technically a spoiler?

If I'm thinking that Arya (or Jon) is getting set up to be Luke Skywalker, you've changed what I think will happen there. It's likelier she (or he) dies alone in a hut or poisoned by a eunuch.

(Neither of those are scenarios are spoilers; pure fabrication.)
posted by mrgrimm at 7:43 AM on June 17, 2011


but the definition of spoiler for a TV show that makes sense is unaired content because otherwise you are overwhelmed by the complexity of figuring what is and is not a spoiler.

That's YOUR definition, at least currently. It's very clear from the lengthy and contentious discussion here that not everyone agrees with you on that point. Many people feel that aired content is a spoiler, if they haven't seen it. You said that yourself in your comment regarding Darth Vader.

The goalposts have moved over and over in this discussion, and no, it is NOT "not fucking complex". It's disingenuous for you to pretend otherwise.
posted by palomar at 7:51 AM on June 17, 2011


What else is there to do in these threads? ^_^ I think the mods have put this issue on autopilot, and we have to get over that. A technical solution is possible imo, but it's not insignificant in either development or site impact, so I can understand why it's not on anyone's task list.


As I said, I'm cool with the current policy. I highly agree those who want to be purely unspoiled should avoid potential trouble threads. I'll respond to the other points in memail.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:51 AM on June 17, 2011


Yes, there are obviously different dynamics in play when you know what someone else knows. They are complexities that can't be considered in a busy general discussion forum where you don't know what people know. The best definition for public forums remains utterly simple, unaired content.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:53 AM on June 17, 2011


Is anyone else having issues with talking in real life about "the dragon" and "horse who mounts the world"?

I don't know, I think it would be cool if you could say you're sorry to BB..

There is no need for this, AT ALL. Zero. Zip. None. NAda. As I wrote before, it was just interesting how fg's totally innocuous comment inadvertently give me heads up a particular character's story arc. There is no anger or animosity there.

I'm just finding the grey area concerning what are spoilers and arent' really neat to think about. It's probably why I'm anti-spoiler tag, because I often (but not always) pick up on subtle clues, like fg's comment, which he thinks is vague and I think is is bright shining light, due to how most stories "flow" in mass media. There's often a predictable story structure.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on June 17, 2011


> Don't let that stop you from trying to score your points though.

I don't care about scoring points, and frankly you're trying to make it look like you're the victim. I conflated your comment with schyler523's comments, so my apologies.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:55 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh-huh.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:56 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, forget my apologies.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:57 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else having issues with talking in real life about "the dragon" and "horse who mounts the world"?

Not really, but I have all kinds of trouble explaining why I think this picture is so amusing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:59 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


> That isn't remotely what happened here. At best it's a radical simplification that perverts the sense of this conversation. I don't know why the spoiler haters, for all their "disappointment" and " sadness" have to be disingenuous in support of their version of events.

It's not disingenuous, it's a fact. I was told by a mod that if I cared about not being spoiled I should stop 'interacting with the site' (link) and the sentiment from most of the rest of the thread is similar - that if you care you should either be like them and stop caring or just stop reading threads that might have spoilers in them (which was generalized from 'don't read a thread about doctor who if you haven't seen doctor who yet' to include tangents in normal media threads and actual meta threads about spoiler policy).

Ironically, I'd have to say it's your framing of the argument, OmieWise, that's disingenuous in support of your own version of events.
posted by flatluigi at 7:59 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no need for this, AT ALL. Zero. Zip. None. NAda. As I wrote before, it was just interesting how fg's totally innocuous comment inadvertently give me heads up a particular character's story arc. There is no anger or animosity there.

Cool. Frankly I'd think it was weird if you were super pissed off, because I don't really believe what fxg posted was a spoiler. Thing is, you said it spoiled you on something. And from the discussion we've had here, and fxg's stance on spoilers being bad and calling people who can't figure out spoilers massive fucking morons, I thought it interesting that when he's told he spoiled something for someone else, he essentially waves his hand and says, "Nah, that's not a spoiler. It's an obvious thing that you should have been aware of."

What you say in your second paragraph there, BB, is exactly why I am anti-spoiler tag as well.
posted by palomar at 8:03 AM on June 17, 2011


Could either of you two explain why that would make you anti-spoiler tag? I'm not following it at all.
posted by flatluigi at 8:06 AM on June 17, 2011


flatluigi, you were told that if you want to remain COMPLETELY SPOILER FREE then it would be best for you to avoid MetaFilter, because no one can ever, ever, ever guarantee you that you will not encounter a spoiler. Please see the furiousxgeorge/Brandon Blatcher comments right above yours for glaring, honking proof of that.

Please stop trying to spin it in a way that paints you as a victim. We ALL have to use the site that way, it's not something special just for you. I am currently avoiding a couple of active, comment-heavy threads on the blue right now because I don't want to be spoiled on the media that those threads are discussing. It's just not that big of a deal. If you need to discuss a piece of media in a completely spoiler free way, use a search engine to search for "[name of media] spoiler free forum" or something, and see what you can find.
posted by palomar at 8:07 AM on June 17, 2011


Again: If people mark their spoilers then people who want to avoid spoilers (like me) will be able to avoid spoilers. If marking spoilers is the default option instead of just posting things openly, then people would be able to remain unspoiled (barring accidents, like BB/fg above).

Hell, on SA there's a subforum where people play and show off videogames for the benefit of others, and I've been able to follow and post in many threads within it at the same time as people discussing seriously discussing plot and ending spoilers, remaining unspoiled simply because SA's default mode is marking spoilers. It just works and lets both new people and fully-experienced people enjoy discussion simultaneously.
posted by flatluigi at 8:17 AM on June 17, 2011


It's not disingenuous, it's a fact. I was told by a mod that if I cared about not being spoiled I should stop 'interacting with the site'

No, you were told by a mod that a conflict exists between your expressed desires and general practice in this community. Not "stop interacting", just "know that this conflict exists and plan accordingly".

We cannot and will not make any guarantees of being free from spoilers on Metafilter; that's not a rebuke, it's a statement of practical fact. If you reduce that to the absolute extreme of "I find being spoilered fundamentally unacceptable", then the situation reduces to "reading and interacting with metafilter may be fundamentally unworkable", yes, and that's your call to make if that's the level it goes to for you personally. But we're not telling you to walk away, we don't want anyone to walk away, and for most folks it seems like it's more a situation where a compromise of being aware of the site standard and being cautious about some threads significantly mitigates the risk of being spoilered.

This general idea, one of resolving conflicts between one's personal preferences and the realities of the site dynamic by finding a workable compromise through self-determined decisions about how to interact with the site, applies to a whole lot of things around here. Spoilers is just one of them. And how any one person decides to resolve that conflict for themselves is their call, based on their personal priorities.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2011


It's not disingenuous, it's a fact. I was told by a mod that if I cared about not being spoiled I should stop 'interacting with the site' (link) and the sentiment from most of the rest of the thread is similar

Yeah, this is exactly the disingenuousness I'm talking about. You were told that if you wanted to remain "completely unspoiled" that Metafilter was not likely to meet your needs. This is why it's so hard for me to sympathize with the spoiler haters, you appear to want to remake Metafilter into something that it is not. A very decent middle ground has been repeatedly laid out by the mods here, the "don't be an asshole" middle ground, and yet the disingenuous rhetoric of the spoiler hater fundamentalists is that this is tantamount to kicking out everyone who believes that spoilers are bad. It's maddening, especially when this group of fundamentalists keeps accusing everyone else of not being civil enough. Seriously, you can't even quote a two line comment without lying about it since it conflicts with your fundamentalist impulses.
posted by OmieWise at 8:23 AM on June 17, 2011


but I have all kinds of trouble explaining why I think this picture is so amusing.

I laughed.

But then, I hate my-little-unicorns and find blood drenched Kalisis oddly exciting.

posted by quin at 8:24 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, at this point, the anti vs pro spoiler tag argument has me more cautious talking about any sort of media on the site, which lessens my enjoyment of the site.

For instance, this comment of mine was originally longer and touched on a number of issues i thought were important to the discussion. But there's mention of two recent movies (Super 8 and Signs) in the comment and since I believe conversation naturally drifts, I thought mention of the movies might cause said drift, I just let that part off. Anyway, here's the full comment:
I think the reason some people are getting so heated is because the general tone here is so at odds withwhat is normal here.

It's more of a tomato vs tamato and each side thinks they're right and wants the other to follow the one true way. Or at least not have to change their way.

Personally, I find having to think about spoilers shapes what I write on Metafilter, often dulling the point I want to make. That's not a solution, IMO, especially with some of the recent media, like stuff less than 5-10 years old. In the current FPP about Super 8, I wanted to make a point about similarity between that film and M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. Wishing to avoid spoilers, I wrote the sentence fairly blandly instead of mentioning the specific similarities. I'm not happy with that. Multiply that by n number of discusses about various media and it gets annoying, tedious and boring. I don't like puting **SPOILER** in there because it looks distracting and often lets me know there's SOMETHING going in the story, which usually has my mind racing to figure out what and sometimes figuring it out.

I didn't see the mods saying readers should "suck it up or go elsewhere".

I call this "The mods are not listening to my obviously brilliant idea and the world is the poorer for it, why are they so cruel?!" Sometimes the mods have to say "No" because they have to think of the entire ship as opposed to every single individual passenger's wants and desires. Sometimes, in their desire to keep us individually happy, they'll offer a solution that might involve going off-site. It's not the perfect solution, no, but it's better than nothing.
So in the above, I avoided mentioning other media, then I read Eideteker again pushing the 'Why can't you do this one simple "thoughtful and conscientious"' thing line. This is annoying, presumptuous and dividing. I made a bland comment in the Super 8 thread to try avoid conversation drifting too much or revealing any plot points in a nine year old movie. I' avoided writing about The Tudors in response to fg's comment about "One of the features of the story is the "anybody can die" nature of it which the show just illustrated for the viewers very dramatically. " I was going to compare and contrast who The Tudor's handled major characters dying, while noting there were two different types of dramas, but christ! I just want to talk about some media with like minded folks, but now it's turned into some minefield of what to talk about, how to do it and where to do it. And these comment is getting long and rambling on and leaving me frustrated. That's nobodies problem but mine, but hopefully this articulates why I'm opposed to putting in spoiler tags.

It's enough to make a Mefite say "fuck it" and go outside.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:29 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


sent you a memail, cortex

omiewise: since I was actually responding to you with the original comment, you'd think you'd understand the context, but I'll illustrate it for the benefit of everyone else:

You said that it was 'hyperbolic' that people would want to not be spoiled on things you deem 'minor,' and to that I asked if there was a fundamental issue with wanting to be unspoiled. Unfortunately for me, it served as a nice little soundbyte taken out of context, with various responses painting me as wanting everyone to shut up and leave me alone with the entirety of metafilter.
posted by flatluigi at 8:32 AM on June 17, 2011


Actually that "anybody can die" bit gave away a significant amount of the story to me -- I like to be tabula rasa before I read a book -- but you know, I'm an adult and I realized this thread might have spoilers in it and since I know it's not the mods' job to edit comments, and since I unfortunately can't control other people's minds yet, I decided it was worth the trade-off to see what was going on. What I found here was people clamoring for either more consideration out of their fellow users (which I support wholeheartedly and understand to be a two-way street) and/or a technical solution (which as we can see falls short due to individual opinions on how much information constitutes a spoiler, as well as site culture and moderation policy) for something that is either accidentally oblivious or intentionally cruel. No technical solution will fix the intentional cruelty, which is extremely rare. Consideration would be nice, but that's possibly even harder to police.

So with this shifting, personal definition of "spoiler," and a spoiler tag in place, I'd expect to see it used to hide anything remotely resembling a spoiler (in order to capture everyone's definition), and thus threads about current TV shows, films, or books to be almost entirely obfuscated. If I didn't want to read the spoilers in those threads, there would be nothing to read. Why not just skip over the thread entirely until there's nothing to spoil?

Then again, I don't think my contributions are all that important. There may be users who see their own involvement in threads in a different light, who may just feel a need to be heard or otherwise involved in the discussion. I guess they have a tough decision: does your need to be part of the conversation outweigh your need to be protected from spoilers?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:33 AM on June 17, 2011


brandon: You could've posted the exact same thing you wanted to, unedited, if spoiler tags were implemented. Hell, if you did what you just did right now and said "hey, this comment has super 8 and signs spoilers, skip if you're still planning to watch those" right before making your points, you could've posted it verbatim earlier! I can't see what the problem is.
posted by flatluigi at 8:35 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was told by a mod that if I cared about not being spoiled I should stop 'interacting with the site' (link) and the sentiment from most of the rest of the thread is similar - that if you care you should either be like them and stop caring or just stop reading threads that might have spoilers in them

Honestly, what other options are there? The above reads like you're being singled out, but this is true of MetaFilter for any number of things. There are links to porn, there's sexism, there are naughty words. If someone comes in and says, "Hey, I can't read MetaFilter with swearing on it." then they're not going to be told to get off the site, but they will be told that there's no way for them to read the site and avoid swearing. If we all would write f*** instead of fuck, then they would be able to read MetaFilter at work (or wherever), but that's not going to happen (I think there was actually a MeTa about this at some point). This isn't that person being singled out or anything, this is one person asking MetaFilter to change, being told it's not going to and then taking that to mean they're not welcome.

That's not to say I want to go around posting spoilers willy-nilly. I'm pretty sure I've been careful in the past and will definitely be careful in the future. I don't mind being asked to be considerate of spoilers and I'll try for sure.
posted by ODiV at 8:37 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


And obviously it's more than one person. That was poor phrasing on my part.
posted by ODiV at 8:41 AM on June 17, 2011


Unfortunately for me, it served as a nice little soundbyte taken out of context, with various responses painting me as wanting everyone to shut up and leave me alone with the entirety of metafilter.

I understand the context, that's why I understand that you weren't told to stop interacting with the site if you "cared about not being spoiled," you were told that if you wanted to be "completely unspoiled" that "having this desire and wanting to interact with people on MetaFilter" were at odds. This is a far cry from what you suggested jessamyn was saying, especially in context. Your argument makes no sense about this. I've read the whole thread, and there's a distinct middle ground here that you are unwilling to countenance.

Incidentally, I missed it when I first read your "it's a fact" post, but you attribute a quote to jessamyn that you made up out of whole cloth. You just invented it for your purposes. You wrote: "I should stop 'interacting with the site' (link)", but nowhere in the linked comment did jessamyn say this. I'll admit that I've been frustrated at times in this discussion, and I've deplored the rhetoric used by spoiler haters, but I'm pretty surprised to see this blatant lie used to bolster your argument. What were you thinking? That isn't even the sense of what she said. This is really beyond the pale.
posted by OmieWise at 8:47 AM on June 17, 2011


I was just vacationing in Ireland and learned where "beyond the pale" came from!
posted by ODiV at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2011


I was just vacationing in Ireland and learned where "beyond the pale" came from!

SPOILERS PLEASE
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on June 17, 2011


Cool. Frankly I'd think it was weird if you were super pissed off, because I don't really believe what fxg posted was a spoiler.

Not to the point that it needed to be tagged, no, but as I said before any of this came up very little info can lead to spoilers unintentionally in Game of Thrones.

.And from the discussion we've had here, and fxg's stance on spoilers being bad and calling people who can't figure out spoilers massive fucking morons, I thought it interesting that when he's told he spoiled something for someone else, he essentially waves his hand and says, "Nah, that's not a spoiler. It's an obvious thing that you should have been aware of."

Actually, what I did was own up to it and suggest a way to avoid further spoiling. The rest was explaining why I felt I had taken adequate caution for the venue in accordance with my stance on these issues.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:54 AM on June 17, 2011


Just to be clear, flatluigi, I don't have any bad feelings about your personally, but I've really been struggling with the feeling throughout this discussion that the discussion about what to do about spoilers is difficult to have given the fundamentalist nature of some of the positions staked out by the spoiler haters. This feeling has partly been fostered for me by the VERY heated rhetoric, which has included explicitly insulting language, that several spoiler haters have used in this thread. In addition to that language, spoiler haters have repeatedly mischaracterized the position of those who don't share their concerns in quite the same way, including the mods. In that climate, it's astounding to me that you would not be more careful with your rhetoric, would not be more careful with your imputations of dismissal from the mods. I'm not sure why other people should see you as a reasonable person in this debate if you manufacture quotations to suit your needs and denigrate the efforts of reasonableness from the mods and others in this discussion. I just makes it seem like there's no possibility of appeasement and compromise as a community.
posted by OmieWise at 9:36 AM on June 17, 2011


You said that it was 'hyperbolic' that people would want to not be spoiled on things you deem 'minor,'

Wow, that's a really different take from what I read cortex as saying. He said: But the hyperbole from spoiler-haters really gets in the way. There is no point too small to be spoiled, there is no story too old.

He didn't deem any one thing in particular as "minor." He did not say that any request for no spoilers was hyperbolic. There is a specific thing that is hyperbolic, e.g. (and this is my e.g., not his) a request that no one talk about who Luke's father is, and minor, e.g. (again, my own example) that Leia doesn't get crushed in the garbage crusher.

To my reading, he is not saying that any request for no spoilers is hyperbolic.
posted by rtha at 11:16 AM on June 17, 2011


Different from what you read OmieWise was saying, rather.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on June 17, 2011


Doh.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on June 17, 2011


A minor, polite clarification: I am not pro-spoiler. Being spoiled sends me into a white-hot fury.

Sorry, harriet vane. My error here again reflects my confusion about what constitutes a spoiler. In my head, I was characterising you as you characterise yourself. Unfortunately, my confusion between a spoiler (a comment that reveals a plot point) and the label that warns of a spoiler to come seems to be too deeply embedded to easily shake.

FWIW, I don't believe I've ever deliberately attempted to spoil somebody's enjoyment of a book/film/tv show/whatever by posting something that was a spoiler. OTOH, I don't ever recall discussing something here that I thought needed a spoiler either. I believe I've always attempted to be courteous to other mefites -- even under provocation. I might not always be successful, but I certainly try.

However, if I go into a thread where people are talking about a particular cultural artifact -- a book or a film or whatever, I think it's quite possible that I might reveal something that irritates someone else. That doesn't mean I'm doing so out of malice. It just means that thinking about spoilers isn't high up on my list of priorities. If I'm in a thread talking about a particular product, I automatically assume that everyone else has read the book/seen the film/watched the tv show as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:52 AM on June 17, 2011


Oh I see now, yeah. And I don't really think I've seen malicious spoilers outside of these very heated spoiler discussions on MeTa.

I dunno. I guess I just feel that far stupider sites than MeFi do manage this issue successfully, so I'm confident that we can too. Eventually. When we all chill out a bit. Fingers crossed.

(MetaCooler is shaping up nicely, if anyone wants to join us over there. )
posted by harriet vane at 6:47 AM on June 18, 2011


I dunno. I guess I just feel that far stupider sites than MeFi do manage this issue successfully, so I'm confident that we can too. Eventually. When we all chill out a bit. Fingers crossed.

Did you ever consider that the management of this issue makes some of the stupid in those sites?
posted by Chuckles at 12:07 PM on June 18, 2011


You think spoiler warnings cause reduction in IQ?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe the implication he is making is that perhaps the spoiler policies on those sites is because of the stupid, not in spite of the stupid. If you think the mods here on Metafilter generally know what they are doing, maybe they know what they are doing with spoilers too.
posted by Justinian at 2:54 PM on June 18, 2011


So...reduction in IQ causes people to spoil?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2011


As I've said several times now, I don't think it's the mods' responsibility to police spoilers. I think they've made the right decision on a difficult issue.
posted by harriet vane at 6:03 AM on June 19, 2011


What I'm saying is, if the mods of a site, and the site culture in general, is going to be so distracted by an issue of marginal importance, you are probably going to get more stupid in more areas.

And ya, I concede that it is important to some people, but even for the people it is important to, it is only important a small fraction of the time. Spending more than the minimum amount of time dealing with spoilers would be misplaced priority.
posted by Chuckles at 2:29 PM on June 19, 2011


Typing "possible spoilers for series X" at the start of a comment doesn't require as much time as arguing about it in MeTa does. At least, not the way I've been doing either one.

Plus I don't think getting distracted by details is a stupidity trait, it's more of an obsessive-compulsive one. Or a too-much-time-on-their-hands one.
posted by harriet vane at 4:02 AM on June 20, 2011


Typing "possible spoilers for series X" at the start of a comment...

Nobody tells The Dragon what to do!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:48 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Typing "possible spoilers for series X" at the start of a comment doesn't require as much time as arguing about it in MeTa does.

"Possible spoilers for ____" followed by my possible spoilage in the next paragraph is going to be my new format I guess. I'm not sure it's so great, but it seems acceptable.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:59 AM on June 20, 2011


I'd suggest using the small tag as well.

Possible spoilers for Game of Thrones:

A half-remembered saying: to youth, life is a heroic adventure; to the middle-aged, life is a tragedy.
posted by russilwvong at 10:41 AM on June 20, 2011


sounds good. (if we don't get a spoiler tag button, i wouldn't mind a "small" button ... ;)

Possible spoilers for Game of Thrones TV show/A Clash of Kings book

“Do you always smell so bad, or did you just finish fucking a pig?”
posted by mrgrimm at 8:27 AM on June 22, 2011


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