Spoilers on FanFare July 7, 2019 12:20 PM   Subscribe

My understanding was that FanFare is a place for people who have seen/read a thing to talk about that work. While spoilers are not allowed above the fold, they are absolutely allowed in the [more inside] and flat-out standard and to be expected in the comments within. Are we not all in agreement on that?

This outlook seems to make the most sense. You wouldn't expect a book club to eschew spoilers, because it would hamper discussion. But more and more, commenters on FF seem to try to avoid or mask spoilers, or to apologize for bringing them up.

To be fair, many people click into FF threads to get a read on what the general opinion is on something they are considering checking out. But don't they basically do so with the full knowledge that spoilers may like within? People also skim recaps of TV shows to see if they sound good, but no one would ask someone writing a recap not to reveal plot points; recounting the plot is the exact point of a recap.

Has the opinion on this shifted or is just a matter of people needing a gentle reminder that spoilers inside are completely okay?
posted by DirtyOldTown to Etiquette/Policy at 12:20 PM (55 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Unless it was signposted otherwise in some way, my assumption is always that there not just could be but will be spoilers in a discussion. If it is a single episode post, then sure, keep conversation limited to that episode and don't give away the big reveal that happens later in the season. But within the framework of that post (single episode, full series, or whatever), conversation should be open in my opinion.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:27 PM on July 7 [9 favorites]


My understanding of "the rules" for FanFare matches yours.
posted by cooker girl at 12:49 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that if it says "full season" there are spoilers for anything. If it's just for one episode, no spoilers beyond that season but fine for that one and any prior.
posted by dobbs at 1:03 PM on July 7 [16 favorites]


Fully on board. Spoilers inside the fold are good and necessary, and if you haven't seen the thing and don't want to read spoilers then GTFO until you've seen it!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:05 PM on July 7 [7 favorites]


If it's just for one episode, no spoilers beyond that season but fine for that one and any prior.

No spoilers beyond that episode surely? I don't want to be going into a discussion which states it is specific to episode 1 and getting everything to the end of the season.
posted by biffa at 1:30 PM on July 7 [11 favorites]


I expect spoilers, at least for the season / episode the page is about.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:47 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Depends on what you consider a spoiler.

In the last episode of Swamp Thing I posted about a new character shows up. The character isn't named. I didn't realize who the character is supposed to be until I looked at the IMDB listing (to pull up the title of the episode). When I was posting about the show, I was unsure as to call the character by his name or not. I avoided doing so, even if I hinted at who he is.

This is actually a line I find myself straddling a lot when posting about shows that have their origins in other mediums. In the DC and Marvel-based shows, we haven't (to my knowledge) said "shows only, no comics" and in one post we actually had a discussion about whether to include comic-based comments. Generally participants were in favour of doing so. Even then, I find myself more likely to explain backstories (especially for minor characters) or provide speculation based on existing material. I don't explicitly try to spoil upcoming story lines or plots by including details about the shows. That said, however, there have been times when I've started or participated in discussions involving future casting changes or other news. So as I say, I think "it depends" is about the best guideline I have for myself.
posted by sardonyx at 1:50 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


People also skim recaps of TV shows to see if they sound good

I routinely do this, and I do it with the understanding that I am taking a risk of coming across spoilers. We can't have meaningful, worthwhile discussions of shows/movies/books in FanFare without being able to discuss what actually happens in them. People who haven't yet read or seen the item have to manage the spoiler risk themselves.
posted by orange swan at 2:41 PM on July 7 [20 favorites]


I feel like at some point in the past there was something discussed in two separate series of posts, that was a rewatch - one series was the spoilers one, for folks who were actually rewatching, and one was spoiler-free for episodes/books(?) past the specific topic, for folks coming to it for the first time. I remember thinking this was a very clunky workaround for a lack of an integrated spoiler tag but fanfare was relatively fresh. Did I hallucinate this?

Anyway, for me personally I'm all about that spoiler life, because if something can't hold its own without a surprise twist then it's not worth my media-saturated time. I think that culturally the act of spoiling has become increasingly taboo - I have a whole conspiracy theory about this being Disney's manipulative doing - and that spaces created specifically to discuss media like Fanfare threads should be spoileriffic zones, much like you describe. Otherwise threads would negate their stated purpose. For topics that have a slightly adjusted purpose, like an ongoing sport event, or discussion posts to figure out book club content or something, then you've got to have slightly adjusted expectations. I think it's good to explicitly state this occasionally.
posted by Mizu at 3:30 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


My personal understanding of this:

Above the fold, keep it simple. Don't list twists.

Below the fold: anything revealed in that listed episode or season is fair game (as labeled in the thread title), as is anything that happened before. However, do not talk about future events/promos.

Rewatch: it's okay to discuss future events in the show as well.

Cross-media properties: sardonyx covered it with 'it depends, be explicit.'

In the DC and Marvel-based shows, we haven't (to my knowledge) said "shows only, no comics" and in one post we actually had a discussion about whether to include comic-based comments. Generally participants were in favour of doing so.

Pretty sure this came up when I was posting about Doom Patrol, and yeah - everybody wanted to include the other properties. I figure it was good we hashed it out to be sure though, and the next time I do something like that, I'll make sure to include a tag.

I feel like at some point in the past there was something discussed in two separate series of posts, that was a rewatch - one series was the spoilers one, for folks who were actually rewatching, and one was spoiler-free for episodes/books(?) past the specific topic, for folks coming to it for the first time.

Game of Thrones sure had some robust discussions, and twin threads to accommodate spoilers vs. no-spoilers.
posted by mordax at 4:58 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


The FAQ tag "fanfare" deals with the spoiler question and for me was a good reminder that the "Rewatch" label means what I thought it means.

I also peek at threads of things I haven't watched, and while it is likely not fair to expect this, it's really nice when the first comment doesn't begin "So the butler murdered the porcupine in the library with a candlestick after all!!", or "why did the butler murder the porcupine?".

Since I don't think I've ever been spoiled by "peeking", maybe this indicates that people are demuring from anything but general comments at the start of threads, and maybe we should not have that social expectation ("don't spoil early") at all... if some of us do have it. I think DirtyOldTown is saying that we should get rid of this expectation?
posted by sylvanshine at 5:19 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Your understanding is my understanding. I am conscious of spoilers because of getting squished for spoilers in discussions of properties that are 10+ years old. To be honest, I avoid threads that have the no spoilers rule because I feel it makes discussion cramped and limited. Seriously, how can we have a discussion about the latest Star Wars movies without spoilers about episodes 4-6?
posted by jadepearl at 8:21 PM on July 7


For new episodic I'm on board with anything that happens up to and including the episode being posted is fair to discuss.

I think the modifications listed above for re-watch vs first watch and show-only vs cross-media make sense for those contexts.

My understanding is that Fanfare posts are for people who have seen the show/movie/episode to freely discuss it, and that people who haven't seen the media in question come into discussions at their own peril.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:29 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Has the opinion on this shifted or is just a matter of people needing a gentle reminder that spoilers inside are completely okay?

Spoilers inside are completely ok, period. I don’t see how it could be anything but ok.

Yes, keep them out if the post, but once inside it’s an open discussion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:13 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


While we're talking about spoilers - I don't think mentioning something that happens in the comic book or real life story that the thing is based on *can* be a spoiler. Adaptations make changes to the source material all the time and it's impossible to know in advance what's going to happen in *this* story no matter what happened in similar stories. Also I could do with less assuming that everyone read every comic book original and that things cannot be enjoyed on their own merits without needing additional context.
posted by bleep at 12:23 AM on July 8


Since I don't think I've ever been spoiled by "peeking", maybe this indicates that people are demuring from anything but general comments at the start of threads, and maybe we should not have that social expectation ("don't spoil early") at all... if some of us do have it

I do feel like people have generally tended to keep early comments pretty vague for things with, like, high expectations - the latest MCU, the newest Star Wars, maybe Jordan Peele's Us, flicks where there's a good chance a handful of folks recognize that they have seen the flick before most other people get a chance to. Which is a nice thing to do, sure; if you bought tickets to the midnight "pre-release" show months ahead of time it seems a kindness to not make the first comment "ZOMG the porcupine died!" when most of the rest of the world isn't going to see the movie for another 12 to 24 hours.

But that seems more of a vague social guideline rather than a rule, and I certainly don't expect it to happen all the time. If it's a show or film where I might care about spoilers then I figure it's on me to not check the thread until I've seen it.

So, yeah, my expectations are that "spoilers inside" are the norm and totally OK.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:39 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how FanFare would work if spoilers weren't allowed. Wouldn't it then just be "this show/movie/book/whatever exists"? Where's the value in that?
posted by kevinbelt at 5:49 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Adaptations make changes to the source material all the time and it's impossible to know in advance what's going to happen in *this* story no matter what happened in similar stories

1. Thus it's still a possible spoiler and should be avoided.

2. People should always refrain from discussing the original books when discussing the adapted movie because they're two separate works. NEVER DO THIS PEOPLE.

3. Yeah, I'm possibly being unreasonable about #2, but STILL.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 AM on July 8


While we're talking about spoilers - I don't think mentioning something that happens in the comic book or real life story that the thing is based on *can* be a spoiler.

I pretty strongly disagree. Adaptations make changes all the time, but adaptations rarely completely change the kinds of things that people would view as major spoilers. Coming into a TV show thread and being like "yeah in the comics of course [character] gets killed by [bad guy] in a few weeks, be interesting to see what happens!" is a total dick move, even if [character] ends up being killed by [other bad guy].

Added to this: it's a pretty dick move even if [character] ends up not being killed at all, because you've just dumped "[character] is gonna get killed" onto people who didn't read the comics and want to experience the adaptation as it is and are now going to spend multiple episodes waiting for that to happen and it's going to completely change how they view it.

Please, leave details of original works out of threads on adaptations. Yes, even real-life events.
posted by tocts at 6:55 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


More on topic: I don't expect threads to not contain spoilers. I have appreciated at times that some people will at least in the first few comments not get into major spoilers, because it has helped in cases where I wanted to peek and see if there was a strong good/bad reaction to a thing without learning every detail. I don't expect that people do it, but I appreciate when it happens, and I find it a little weird to frame this conversation as if we need to like, chide people for completely voluntarily being slightly demur about spoilers at least in some cases.
posted by tocts at 6:58 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I expect threads to contain spoilers, but I like when people precede them with a label so if I'm using the thread to gauge my own interest, I can still skip them.
posted by Mchelly at 7:35 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think spoilers are certainly allowed in FanFare threads, but I do think it is sometimes the responsible thing to do to limit spoilers where they are not explicitly needed, in a few cases, other than the "early in brand new movie threads" as has been mentioned above.

1) In episode-by-episode threads about TV it can sometimes be hard to remember exactly where certain events happen--especially in bingeable shows--and so it is wise to have a little discretion in case you are misremembering things.

2) In "Books Allowed" threads (or comic book universe stuff in general) where there are differences between the books and the show/film, I would hesitate to reveal details from the books that would either spoil the book, or that might be incorporated in later seasons/sequels.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:35 AM on July 8


While we're talking about spoilers - I don't think mentioning something that happens in the comic book or real life story that the thing is based on *can* be a spoiler.

This falls into murkier, media- and crowd-specific territory, and so it's more something for folks to navigate together in good faith in a given discussion or set of discussions than something that exists as firm across-the-board FanFare policy.

We added the Show Only and Books Included tags early on largely because of that specific point of contention with Game of Thrones show vs. books, for cases like that where there was some pre-discussed strong consensus about the need to make that distinction. Folks gearing up for a discussion about some other high profile inter-media property may or may not want to go that far in making a distinction but it's a good situation to try and talk a little about expectations at least, for that particular discussion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 AM on July 8


The show only and books included are useful distinctions. At some point, though, there's never going to be a full agreement on where the line is on everything. I know a lot of people who think talking about casting is unambiguously spoiling, but nobody was concerned by the conversation about the kerfuffle set off by casting Idris Elba as Heimdall (previously not drawn in the comics as a black man.)

I tend to avoid talking about plot arcs that match the source material enough that you can expect some parallel, but I also like noting easter eggs or changes. "Ha, the fake name he used to sign into the hotel was his secret id in the comics" is bringing in information from other media, but is it a spoiler?
posted by Karmakaze at 9:18 AM on July 8


Spoilers inside the fold are good and necessary, and if you haven't seen the thing and don't want to read spoilers then GTFO until you've seen it!

Yeah, it is certainly my expectation... As I go watch each of the latest Stranger Things season 3 episodes, I check out a that specific episode thread, mainly to see what I might have missed - recently left a comment about another Netflix show that seemed to have some overlap, but didn't name the show (and put a warning) in hopes that it wouldn't spoil that - hope this MeTa wasn't spawned by that comment...
posted by jkaczor at 9:19 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I don't think mentioning something that happens in the comic book or real life story that the thing is based on *can* be a spoiler.

Well, no. Not everyone *knows* the story before watching. So - myself, I have never, not once in my entire life read a mainstream DC or Marvel comic book - yet I enjoy the movies, the stories and characters are "new to me".

And, I have been introduced to real-world events via movies, things that I definitely did not know about - "Into the Wild", "Spare Parts" and "Hidden Figures".

But - if it is "within the fold", I would expect spoilers regardless.
posted by jkaczor at 9:25 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I completely agree with mordax, upthread: Vague above the fold, detailed discussion of the plot encouraged in the thread.

I have sympathy for complaints about seeing spoilers dropped unexpectedly into other contexts, but I don't think it's unreasonable to say "if you don't want to know about a story, don't actively seek out places where it's being discussed".

There will always be some blurriness around which plots count as common knowledge, e.g. American Gods (the book is old enough to vote, but I assume plenty of its TV audience hasn't read it) vs Chernobyl (I doubt anyone in those threads is pretending "it might be OK!" to avoid spoiling it). There'll never be a perfect solution for everyone, of course, so those just have to be felt out on a case-by-case basis, and things like the "show only" tags or notes in the post itself used as appropriate.
posted by metaBugs at 9:40 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I love spoilers in fanfare threads! Discussion gets way to frustrating and cramped when everyone dances around trying to avoid spoilers. And they give me a chance to keep up with the discussion if I fall behind on watching a series, or want to decide if it is worth getting into. If I don't want spoilers for something I wait until after I've watched it to read the fanfare.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:16 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


For a few posts and where spoilers are a big deal, I try to avoid them at the beginning of the thread -- specifically because I know many people (including myself) will peek at the beginning of threads to get a sense of something and how much people here like it to help decide if they're going to watch it.

It's a considerate thing to do, but shouldn't be required.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:12 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I agree that it's a courteous social nicety to avoid anything super spoilery in the first few comments of a recent big release, especially if there's a significant disparity in release dates across different countries. It's not a rule, and I wouldn't want it to be one, it's just nice.

In general though, I don't see what the point in having discussions even is if we're going to enforce spoiler rules in them. If you're in the discussion, I assume you've either already seen/read/listened to the thing, or you're okay with being spoiled.

The one exception is spoilers beyond the episode or book being discussed. So if you have a comment to make about how something in Episode 3 is interesting in light of something revealed in Episode 7, then the comment should go in the post about Episode 7. Wait, I lied, one more exception: if it's history, it's not a spoiler. My brother once whined at me for spoiling something for him in Rome, and like, sorry you don't know Roman history bro, but it's not a spoiler that Octavian becomes emperor!
posted by yasaman at 5:18 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


For a few posts and where spoilers are a big deal, I try to avoid them at the beginning of the thread -- specifically because I know many people (including myself) will peek at the beginning of threads to get a sense of something and how much people here like it to help decide if they're going to watch it.

Which is a nice thing to do, sure; if you bought tickets to the midnight "pre-release" show months ahead of time it seems a kindness to not make the first comment "ZOMG the porcupine died!" when most of the rest of the world isn't going to see the movie for another 12 to 24 hours.

I expect threads to contain spoilers, but I like when people precede them with a label so if I'm using the thread to gauge my own interest, I can still skip them.

but I do think it is sometimes the responsible thing to do to limit spoilers where they are not explicitly needed, in a few cases, other than the "early in brand new movie threads" as has been mentioned above.

I agree that it's a courteous social nicety to avoid anything super spoilery in the first few comments of a recent big release, especially if there's a significant disparity in release dates across different countries. It's not a rule, and I wouldn't want it to be one, it's just nice.

No, sorry. It's not about courtesy or being nice.

If you haven't seen/read the thing, don't go into the discussion. If you do, you do so at your own risk. It's that simple.

If the movie isn't out where you are yet, then don't go into the thread. If you want to gauge your interest, then getting spoiled is on you. It's ridiculous to expect a space specifically set aside for the discussion of something to have to contort itself to accommodate people who haven't experienced it. If you want to talk about being nice and considerate, it's not nice to force other people to work around your inability to control yourself. If you have to peek, sorry, you take the risk.

I'm the world's biggest stickler for spoilers, but this is absurd. Just don't go into the discussion. You have some responsibility to avoid actively seeking out spoilers yourself.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:17 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


I agree with Sangermaine: I never, ever go into a Fanfare thread of something I plan to read/watch if I don't want it spoiled.
posted by signal at 1:15 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I am virulently anti-spoiler, to the point that I stop reading reviews if I've decided to see the movie / read the book. I will stop in the middle of a review. In the best case I'd rather not know at the beginning who the protagonist is going to be. But fanfare discussions? Spoil away. It's a place for people who have actually read the thing being discussed.

There's some minor stuff I've seen in series discussion where people highlight a character who will play a major role in later episodes/books, which I personally am not crazy about, but even that has been in the realm of normal human etiquette. If anything needs to change I'm with the OP--I've seen a few discussions where people are dancing around things too much.

2. People should always refrain from discussing the original books when discussing the adapted movie because they're two separate works. NEVER DO THIS PEOPLE.

I disagree here. The book is a separate work, sure, but closely related--it doesn't seem much different than bringing in an interview with the screenwriter or a making of documentary in terms of relevance to the discussion.

I'd be curious why you don't want the discussion? Obviously "Show Only" tags should be honored and people shouldn't make the discussion primarily about the book.

Is it worry about book spoilers? I can't get my head around someone sitting down to watch Pride and Prejudice then getting worried that a Fanfare discussion might give away a plot point.
posted by mark k at 8:55 PM on July 9


I don't really like it when people talk about the book (usually it's a comic book) because 99% of the time I've never heard of it so it's hard to participate in a conversation about this thing I watched when everyone else is talking about some other experience they all had together previously. And then a lot of the time it comes along with the implication that without all this context you *can't* understand or enjoy (or dislike!) this thing on its own merits.
posted by bleep at 10:06 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


When in doubt...Wrap it up in a details tag with a summary section

posted by zengargoyle at 2:41 AM on July 10


I'm the world's biggest stickler for spoilers, but this is absurd. Just don't go into the discussion. You have some responsibility to avoid actively seeking out spoilers yourself.

Who are you even responding to here? Nobody has said there shouldn't be spoilers. People have said they expect spoilers, but that it can be a (completely voluntary) courtesy to not make the first handful of comments be all about the spoilers. Don't want to do that? Totally fine! Nobody's going to make you, and nobody's gonna say "you're doing it wrong". Your response to these fairly benign statements is way over the top.
posted by tocts at 10:45 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I'd be curious why you don't want the discussion? Obviously "Show Only" tags should be honored and people shouldn't make the discussion primarily about the book.

Is it worry about book spoilers? I can't get my head around someone sitting down to watch Pride and Prejudice then getting worried that a Fanfare discussion might give away a plot point.


As a veteran of the MeFi Game of Thrones threads (82nd Critics Wing), it's a just recipe for disappointment and splintering discussion.

"Oh, that must be the thing where X character appears."
Character doesn't appear.
"oh, THIS must the thing where awesome X character appears, you'll see"
Character doesn't appear. The character NEVER appears. Cue endless lamentation of "Why wasn't X character in the show? It would have so much better".


So instead of dealing with the story that's actually there, it largely becomes about what wasn't there, which only part of the audience understands.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:12 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Wrap it up in a details tag with a summary section

Whoa, does that work?In all browsers?

posted by Rock Steady at 11:20 AM on July 10


IIRC the issue with that details tag is, only some browsers support that tag. So for some people the text you think you're hiding won't actually be hidden.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:26 AM on July 10


Yeah, it's a solution that is simple, clever, and broken. I'd ask again that people not try to make that a de facto spoiler solution on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:08 PM on July 10


That is very true, Brandon. We ran into that some on Walking Dead, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:54 PM on July 10


Yeah I get that. I was mentally picturing the example I gave of completed book --> completed movie. I'd kind of frame your complaint as discussing the book instead of the show/movie, which is always wrong.

Still think comments that tie the book into the adaptation are perfectly valid (along the lines of "The movie really obscures what a delinquent father Mr. Bennett was because it keeps his sardonic jokes that play for good laughs, but loses the narrative commentary.")
posted by mark k at 7:41 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


i know i'm one of those who don't spoil when i set up my posts or one of the early commenters... but tht's also because most of my fanfare activity is for blockbuster movies with staggered release dates. maybe i also got burned from those earlier times when studios began experimenting with non-USA releases first (not on mefi but elsewhere in fandom) and american fans were so mad non-americans were doing literally the same exact thing they always do (as can be seen actually on tumblr in the spidey: ffh release with sony choosing usa-first limited public early showings).

anyway, i figure it's nice enough habit because it's not like whatever i wanted to say can't wait until the first dozen of comments (esp if the releases are a week apart).

for tv shows like GOT where there are international simulcasts but ppl have work etc, i guess it makes sense not to blare out the main spoilers first thing in the comments, but at least fanfare is quarantined, I WISH TWITTER/FACEBOOK PEOPLE LEARN SOME MANNERS SINCE WE DON'T GET SPOILER TAGS.
posted by cendawanita at 10:00 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I appreciate the general etiquette of keeping the main below-the-fold post/beginning of Fanfare threads spoiler-lite. Especially when there's nothing in the above-the-fold info to give you any clue on whether the movie is new or old, or what platform/channel/country a tv-show is from, and there's no "more inside", and the poster-art image didn't load to the sidebar, so you pretty much have to go into the thread if only to click through to the imdb link to find out what the heck it is.

I've said it before in other Fanfare-Metatalk/FanfareTalk threads, but, for brand-new streaming shows, it's really a good idea to post an Episode 1 thread first rather than starting with a Full-Season thread, so there's a space for people to have the general "what is this show? do people like it? is it worth finishing?" discussion.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:08 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


I had always thought Fanfare was about one's reaction to the media presented and how it may have made you feel about it and discussing those salient points. Now I'm getting told that that's not how it is at all, and laying out every single plot point in a given thread is now ok, which unless I'm mistaken was never the policy.

I mean shit, I haven't and still don't have a problem with you telling me that for instance, Harry and the gang continue their hunt for horcruxes and there's a couple of large battles and chaos erupts at Hogwarts, but when the entire post is a complete layout of the plot point by point, how does that benefit anyone? I'm not here for that type of exposition, I want to enjoy the film/book/movie, to experience that not to read a summary of the media with everything laid out.

If it's just me, I guess I'll be staying away from Fanfare. Which I consider a shame, because I enjoy discussion of ongoing series and getting everybody's POV with regards to what just happened.
posted by Sphinx at 7:23 PM on July 13


There's no expectation that FanFare threads will consist solely or consistently of plot points. There's just also no expectation that that stuff won't be in there. In practice they're generally a whole mix of discussions of specific plot points and character moments, larger-scale discussions of themes and reactions and thoughts, and syntheses of all that with outside material or discussion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:49 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that seems like an odd takeaway to get from this thread, Sphinx. The thing that I'm assuming prompted this thread is the tendency for the beginning of a Fanfare thread to tiptoe around major events for the first few comments. And, this isn't really an issue for ongoing weekly broadcast shows, or movie/book sequels, I think it's only an issue for theatrical premieres and for new streaming-platform tv-shows, where people are likely to pop into the thread without having yet seen the show/movie, in order to make up their minds as to whether they want to spend the time/money on it. So, it's a kindness when those threads start with some padding - links to reviews, a couple of general "loved it/hated it" comments, rather than starting right off with "Rosebud is a sled!!! Bruce Willis is a ghost!!! I never saw that coming!" kind of comments.

but when the entire post is a complete layout of the plot point by point, how does that benefit anyone?

Having a list of plot points in the main posts can be helpful for puzzle-box kind of streaming shows, I've found. Like for Travelers or The OA or Dark -- where the episode-to-episode exposition builds to some revelation, so keeping track of significant events in the starting post generates discussion as people can speculate on the meaning of the clues dropped so far, and helps the people who are further ahead in the season keep their comments restricted to the events of that episode instead of accidentally talking about something from later on in the run.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:20 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the replies.

I wasn't referring to this thread and I deliberately didn't make it clear because I didn't want to single anyone out, but this thread starts with a short overview of the film and tells us about where and when it was shown. Then it cuts right into a detailed listing of the plot beat by beat under the heading "Synopsis:". Well, I don't feel like that was a synopsis by any means, instead I saw it as a detailed list of every single plot point. Which again, is in no way a synopsis. This wasn't a replying comment, this was the main post.

As I mentioned above, I don't have an issue with spoiling something that has already aired or a book that has been out for a while. However, I do have an issue with a complete reveal of the entirety of the plot of a film that hasn't been released globally yet and I have a desire to see. Well, had.

Nowhere in the post itself is the word spoiler. I feel that if the word was included in the main post, I would have stayed far away from it, and tried to comment on my expectations of the film somewhere else. And when I voiced my concerns in a somewhat snarky one liner, I get told that spoilers are more than ok. Really? Maybe it's just me, but I see and use Fanfare as a source where I can learn about films/TV shows/books that I haven't come across in my day-to-day life and might conceivably enjoy. Most of the threads have a short overview of the characters and/or plot in the post, and I use that to decide on whether to give it a shot. And while it's worked well so far, that particular set of spoilers felt way over the top to me. And then to get told that spoilers are more than ok felt really shitty.

To quote a certain coach, "I'm a grown-ass man" and I can understand that people can and do have the desire to see stuff about a film before the release, but I'd like to at least see the word spoiler in the post or before the fold as it were.

If I am in the wrong here, it would appear that Fanfare has changed, and is no longer a place where I can check out if certain films/books/shows are stuff that I want to see without getting the plot and characters ruined ahead of time.
posted by Sphinx at 9:13 AM on July 14


Isn't the word "synopsis" a pretty clear indicator that spoilers are inbound?

Would you be upset if you sat in on a book club for a book you were thinking about reading and they talked openly about the plot? Why is this different?

That said, I do think it's maybe nice to keep the post lighter and the first few comments spoiler free. I don't think it should be required, but I think it's nice.

I think this is why I made this post. I think maybe there are rules for FF, but maybe there is also etiquette, that isn't required but is good form. I didn't really know how to put a name on it until we hashed it out a bit.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:55 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I think we can muddle about and come to some kind of norm for movies that we know get wide releases - I think it's just nice to have it fairly as discreet as a typical newspaper review in the early days or especially for staggered releases. That Tarantino movie for example, could afford to be a bit more...enticing (??) I guess, since it felt like it was literally only playing for advance and test audiences (wide release is only this week).

Might have to make a different set of norms for festival-screened indie and small films though. Might just have to bite the bullet and assume it's all extensive discussions here on out, because it's hard to assume ppl have access to it in the near future.
posted by cendawanita at 12:15 PM on July 14


I hadn't been inside that thread, as it's not a movie I've got any curiosity about, but, oof, yeah, that's way more detail up in the main post than I'm used to seeing in a Fanfare movie thread.

To quote a certain coach, "I'm a grown-ass man" and I can understand that people can and do have the desire to see stuff about a film before the release, but I'd like to at least see the word spoiler in the post or before the fold as it were.

I don't think putting the word "spoiler" alone would have helped that thread; everyone is right that technically nothing about the movie itself posted inside the movie's thread constitutes a spoiler. And I think I'd be confused to see "spoilers inside" written above the fold in any Fanfare thread. (I've definitely been baffled by a couple of threads on the blue that said "spoilers inside" because, spoilers for what? I couldn't tell from above the fold, and if I'd clicked through to find out then I'd be spoiled for whatever it was, so it was a no-win situation.) But I do think it's outside the norm to summarize the plot of a movie in the main post in that much detail without some kind of framing to explain why/that you're about to do so. Like, if the movie has some horrifically troubling/triggering scenes I could see wanting to give people a doesthedogdie.com-level breakdown. But it warrants a heads-up first.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:25 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


The state of the site thread has people mentioning frustration with unwritten rules and I'm the first to admit "padding before obvious spoilers" would be one of those unwritten things that turns away casual users or makes them feel wrongly that they've done something wrong. I feel that sort of thing in other examples (or imagine what I might be doing wrong; "is my dogs on treadmills post going to be construed as animal cruelty and not light-hearted even though I have tried to avoid framing it that way?"). Anyway, so I'm in the camp now, on this topic, of Spoilers Where You Like and thereby by earlier comment is cancelled.
posted by sylvanshine at 6:39 PM on July 14


I don't think it's a metafilter-specific quirk though -- in most of the movie/book review podcasts I listen to, they'll start with general discussion and then at a certain point say something like "ok, if you don't want to get spoiled for the ending, stop listening now". And for print media, most opening-weekend/pre-release reviews avoid giving away the ending/major twists unless they're savaging the movie (remembering all the rightfully furious reviews of "The Passenger"), and then do the more in-depth analysis & interview articles later.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:24 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


*oops, I meant "Passengers" not "The Passenger"
posted by oh yeah! at 4:14 AM on July 15


fair enough, but those are all prepared works where one author or group has total control over least spoiling -> more spoiling, whereas fanfare commenters are not organizing a work, and can't be expected to place themselves on that continuum based on how much and what has been posted, such that they are properly on the continuum. or can they? honestly I've beanplated this one enough for personal satisfaction either way.

I see the particular example of early-release movies as being most relevant here to a "decision" either way, by far.
posted by sylvanshine at 8:08 PM on July 15


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