Spoilers, the great scourge of all fandoms. Some people just love to spoil things for others, and that’s a problem. But is there really such a thing as “spoiler etiquette”, or should belonging to a fandom come with a SPOILER WARNING?
Is there even any such thing as spoiler “etiquette” anyway? Is there anything to prevent juicy plot points or shocking character deaths getting spoiled for hardcore fans? Not really. The only thing we spoilerphobes have protecting our beloved fandoms from total spoilerific chaos is the placement of the word SPOILER in parenthesis in the title of a review or news update. That’s it. And sadly there isn’t any guarantee that such a warning will be made. Any unsuspecting fanboy or fangirl could stumble on something because the author of an article wasn’t diligent in their efforts. Or worse… they don’t care if they spoil something for anyone!
Dun Dun Duhhhhn!!!
Now there are those strange soulless individuals who don’t mind spoilers. These people don’t get mad if they find out Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense is actual dead all along, or that Tyler Durden is really the alter ego of Edward Norton’s character and doesn’t really exist. Now I put those two spoilers in there because enough time has passed that if you haven’t even seen those movies yet you’ve basically failed as a geek and it doesn’t matter anyway. But it raises the question of when is a spoiler a spoiler? And when is it alright to spoil something?
I think most people would agree that if a significant amount of time has passed since a movie or show or book, or even a game has come out, that it’s OK to openly talk about anything that happens. After all, there has to be a way to critically discuss events from all media, and if there’s a complete ban on all spoilers, that can never happen. I like to think that in a public forum spoilers can be discussed openly, but in private it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not to spoil something. For example, if a friend has never seen the Sixth Sense, I’m certainly not going to spoil the twist. I want them to experience it for themselves. But again, this only covers “aged” events. If it’s been a long while, the only spoiler protection should be personal choice.
But what about recent events from recent releases? And what about information released from set photos and interviews? I think there is no question that those spoilers should be held sacred. It just has to be that way or the integrity of all fandoms is at risk of losing the joy and mystique they engender in their followers.
There’s also a flip side to this. That being, those who flip out over having something spoiled on social media. I see this happen all the time during live tweets, and in never ceases to enrage me. You’re the one on social media during the event, so don’t act like you couldn’t have avoided it. Show some restraint and stay away for the sake of your own enjoyment. Along the same lines, I’ve always read reviews at my own risk, whether a spoiler warning is attached or not. It’s fairly reasonable to assume at least something will get spoiled in a review. It is a review after all.
Anyway, rant over. And just a warning for those of you who follow our live tweets, or those who like to do a little digging around the interwebs for juicy info on their favorite fandom… SPOILER AHEAD!!!