Spoiler Alert: How to Talk about Geekery Online

I’m a pretty busy person.  Between school and work, I have very little free time to spend playing games, watching television, or going to the movies.  As a result, I don’t play through games as fast as most people, nor do I always catch shows or films when they are first aired or released.  Since I spend a lot of my time on the internet due to the nature of my work, I am in constant danger of the dreaded Spoiler

(photo credit)

No, not THAT Spoiler.
No, not THAT Spoiler.
Spoilers are pervasive in internet culture.  They’re especially frequent in social media, where individuals will live blog or tweet shows, chronicling what happens as it happens. It’s a completely natural reaction to things—as a fan, I often feel the need to talk to someone about something on a show immediately.  While you can find spoilers on just about everything, most of them are just a natural part of the excitement and enthusiasm of fandom.
This is not meant to excuse spoilers, but to make us better understand why they happen.  Sometimes people post spoilers out of malevolence, but that’s extremely rare.  Instead, we can prevent spoilers and being spoiled through common courtesy and due diligence.
And this.
If we take responsibility on both sides, and think before we click or post, we can win the battle against spoilers.  Here’s some advice to avoid posting spoilers, and avoid reading them.  It takes both sides!

To Keep From Spoiling:

  • Never talk in specifics. You can post something like “Game of Thrones was unbelievable tonight!”, but stay away from statements like “I’m so glad they finally killed him! I hated that character!” Definitely don’t get any more specific than that, either.
  • If you want to talk about an event, text or call a friend who watches the show (or watch it with your friends). Don’t throw a statement out into the ether of the internet that could spoil things for others.
  • If you’re posting a review and want to talk about something that happened in the show/movie/game, then make sure you warn readers abut spoilers. You can also put a spoiler tag over the part of the article that would give things away.
  • Start a conversation with sentences like “Have you watched the last episode of Sherlock?” If they say no, then you can’t accidentally spoil them.
  • Be courteous to the people around you, and think before you say things.  I’ve had to stop myself on the verge of giving spoilers for a new show or movie without even thinking about it.  Don’t be a jerk, and don’t be that guy.

 

To Keep From Being Spoiled:

  • Be careful on social media.  Don’t go on sites that are notorious for spoilers (i.e. Tumblr, Twitter), and make sure that you don’t look under any show-specific hashtags.
  • Avoid news articles or reviews.  They’re likely to talk about major plot events — the things that everyone is talking about at the water cooler (figuratively speaking) — so you may end up reading something you don’t want to read.
  • Catch up quickly. There’s a statute of limitations for internet spoilers that spans about one week. After that you can be disappointed, but you shouldn’t be mad about being spoiled.
  • Let people know you’re not caught up. Especially if you are consuming older media for the first time, you can be accidentally spoiled! Mention at the start of the conversation where you are at so others can avoid spoilers.

 

Do you think that these steps could work to prevent spoilers? Do you have any other suggestions, or things you disagree with? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

 

As a card-carrying member of the Justice League, honorary Star Fleet ensign, and a Ph.D student in political science, Amanda doesn’t have much spare time on her hands. But when she does, she spends it gaming, nerdcrafting, marathoning shows on Netflix, debating Tolkien online, sewing costumes for cosplay, and writing on Geekphoria.net.

Find Amanda? Twitter ★ Tumblr ★ Blog

 

About Amanda

Amanda
As a card-carrying member of the Justice League, honorary Star Fleet ensign, and a Ph.D student in political science, Amanda doesn’t have much spare time on her hands. But when she does, she spends it gaming, nerdcrafting, marathoning shows on Netflix, debating Tolkien online, sewing costumes for cosplay, and writing on Geekphoria.net.

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  • http://awildcharmingthing.blogspot.com Megan R

    I learned to avoid Twitter at certain times. Sunday nights especially! I have also informed basically everyone I know that I HATE spoilers, so they are very careful around me know. And I occasionally resort to plugging my ears and humming loudly.

  • http://gamerwife.com Mariko

    And just stay away from the Geek section of Pinterest. The spoilers there strong.

  • Heather Sander

    ugh. Do you know how hard it is to avoid the internet during GoT seasons?! It's the worst.

  • http://kitschvixen.blogspot.com/ Kitsch Vixen

    Yes! Game of Thrones is the easiest to be spoiled because almost everyone I know watches it and they all love to live blog it! Since living in Japan, I've read so many spoilers because I can't watch anything when it airs. I always have to wait for it to be uploaded to Hulu or a streaming website (or even wait until the season comes out on DVD)! Wompwomp.

  • http://ImagesByJessie.blogspot.com Jessie Johnson

    I guess my anxious nature makes me more comfortable when I know whats coming so when I do hear about something before I see/read it for myself, it never bothers me. On the other hand, my best friend hates spoilers so I have learned to be careful not to ruin things for her. We actually plan "x days" to talk about the things we like but don't necessarily watch/read at the same pace… like a OUAT day or a GOT day. We make sure that we're both caught up to the same point by that day so everything is fair and we can enjoy the conversation without upsetting each other.

  • http://incendiarism.blogspot.com Jenn

    I've learned to avoid Twitter on days when new episodes of shows (mostly Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead) air and I'm at work. I'm probably going to have to do the same for the premiere of Doctor Who. These are some really great tips, though. I always avoid specifics when tweeting about shows/movies/games.

  • Mia Moore

    I work hard to avoid spoiling people and avoid spoilers myself (Game of Thrones spoilers are the worst!) but I just got spoiled in the most unexpected way – looking for Miis for Tomodachi Life. So strange!

    Awesome tips, Amanda! Hopefully we can make the world a spoil-free place 😉

  • http://youfancymemad.com/ B.

    I think these are awesome tips. I try my best to do vague tweets/comments without much details. I'll admit it's easier for me to stay calm with TV but with a MCU film, UGH, it's super hard not to spoil. :(