Spoiler Warning: I’m Gonna Rant About Spoilers

I get it. You want to talk about that show you just watched.

The one where a major character died. Or someone got engaged. Or one person was unmasked as another person. Or an alien. Or a sentient washing machine.

And you are quite plainly free to discuss these events in whatever social media feed you possess. It’s your social media frequency channel and you can broadcast anything you want on that signal. You can tweet pictures of monkeys drinking their own urine. You can post Facebook updates about that genital rash that won’t clear up. It’s your digital yard. You can trim the hedges into whatever shape warms your heart and I can’t make you do different.

I can, however, choose to not walk by your yard.

I can unfriend you on Facebook. I can unfollow you on Twitter.

That’s more my responsibility than it is yours, I understand that.

Just the same —

I’d like to talk to you a little bit about spoilers not in an effort to beat you about the head and neck with my opinion but rather to at least try to get you to understand where I’m coming from. See, where I’m coming from is, spoilers kinda suck. They trouble me. They trouble me both as an audience member and as a storyteller myself.

A storyteller concocts a story in a certain way. Anybody who tells stories is familiar with this — you want to create a certain rise and fall of plot, you want to escalate tensions and then give some breathing room, and at a great many of the narrative peaks are tentpole moments. Moments of character that seriously complicate or compromise the plot. Characters dying. Secrets exposed. New steps taken. Old enemies reborn. And we orchestrate these moments almost like we’re writing music. We’re trying to build to various crescendos and not just make a cacophony.

The problem is, were you to isolate that singular moment of musical crescendo, it’s not particularly interesting. It’s just a blurt of noise, a sudden spike of sound.

Spoilers are kinda like that. When you extract these impactful narrative moments and isolate them — and then broadcast them — you’re really just transmitting a weird, context-free spike of sound. It’s not that the story is ruined, exactly, but you’ve robbed some of the potency from it. You’ve stolen urgency and thieved surprise. It’s not the same thing as announcing who won an Oscar or who lost the sportsball game — those are data points not dissimilar from noting the temperature outside or the color of the sky at noon. But when you grab these crucial narrative events and spoil them, you’re reducing them down to being just data points. SCOOBY DOO IS DEAD. DOCTOR WHO IS PREGNANT. BRUCE WILLIS WAS ACTUALLY THE STATUE OF LIBERTY FROM PLANET OF THE APES THE WHOLE TIME.

It’s like you just told a punchline without letting people hear the joke, first.

See, storytellers spend a lot of time trying to claw and climb to these narrative moments — and the audience spends a lot of time going along for the ride.

Spoilers short-circuit that. They rearrange how I experience narrative.

Which is cool, if that’s what I want as an audience member, and if that’s how the storyteller has designed the architecture. But if it’s just what you want, Mister Spoilertrousers, then you’ve gone ahead and forcibly changed my experience of the story. And that sucks a little bit.

And here’s where someone says, “You don’t like spoilers, stay off of social media.” And that sounds fair on first blush, but it doesn’t really change the fact that inconsiderate is still inconsiderate. You are likely broadcasting this stuff to a whole lot of people who aren’t yet aware of it. The Walking Dead — easily the most spoiled show, and one so spoiled for me now I’m not even sure I’m going to watch it anymore — airs later because of the time difference, but those who watched it on the East Coast feed were spoiling the shit out of it as the thing aired. It’s not like you’re asked to hold spoilers for weeks — but, you know, you might at least wait 24 hours till some folks have caught up? At least until people have watched it live?

I get it. You want to spoil it. And again: you’re allowed to. But that doesn’t make it particularly nice. And it’s not nice to say, well, just stay off Twitter, then. I’d rather you not blow cigarette smoke in my kid’s face or take a shit in the public pool, but nobody would ever say, YOU DON’T LIKE POOP, DON’T SWIM IN THE PUBLIC POOL, PAL.

It’s funny. The type of audience seems to have an impact on this. The audience for Breaking Bad seemed protective of spoilers — hell, they still are. But The Walking Dead or Doctor Who seems to draw far more spoilers without regard or consideration of those who maybe haven’t seen it. People seem to be more protective of spoiling the experience in films than they are television — and take even greater care with books. I know part of this comes down to the “second screen experience” that television seems so keen to push, but certainly you have ways to talk about the experience without spoiling it to a very large, potentially public audience? Google+ allows for limited broadcast. Or there exist forums or second-screen apps or direct messages or blogs or email or… you know, good old-fashioned “go watch the show with human beings and then talk about it over a slice of pie.” Hell, even a Facebook update with HOLY FUCK WE’RE GONNA TALK SPOILERS HERE AWOOGA AWOOGA at least tells me at least to stay away from the comments.

But spoilers come fast and furious. No warnings. Sometimes as graphical memes. Sometimes just as a single line: YOU GUYS I CAN’T BELIEVE THE DOCTOR JUST REGENERATED AS A PERSNICKETY POSSUM IN A BOWLER HAT AND A HOUNDSTOOTH JACKET.

The other thing is, I don’t know what the value proposition is for spoilers. It’s like, for the people who already watched the show — well, you announcing OMG PAPA SMURF GOT SHOT isn’t a surprise nor is it in any way insightful. You’re announcing something they already know. And for the people who didn’t watch it — well, now you just ruined it for them. What do spoilers earn you, exactly? What do you get out of it? Serious question.

I dunno.

Can you spoil stuff? Sure. Should you? Well, that’s on you. But I’d rather you didn’t. Just as I’d rather you not open my Christmas presents and tell me what’s in ’em before I get there. Just as none of us like those movie trailers that seem to give the whole movie away in two minutes and thirty seconds. Just as you’d probably rather not have me time travel to an hour before you watch a show so I can spoil it for you.

I won’t come to your house and tell you the endings of all your unread books.

And you don’t broadcast spoilers to people who haven’t yet caught up within a reasonable time.

Just try to think about the experiences of other people.



(I know a lot of this is first-world problem bullshit. I know starving kids in third-world countries aren’t like, “Sure, I’d like some potable water and fresh food, but sure, I’ll listen to how you got spoiled on The Walking Dead last night first, because that sounds totally important, too.” So, you can take all this with a grain of salt. Just the same, as a storyteller with some skin in the game, I thought I’d talk about it. Feel free to toss thoughts in comments. Play nice.)

108 responses to “Spoiler Warning: I’m Gonna Rant About Spoilers”

  1. Personally, I don’t mind spoilers. I have a bad habit of flipping to the last few pages of books and reading them before I read the first chapter. That said, I don’t spoil for others because I have enough respect for them and their experience not to want to take away any pleasure from them. I have been known to post, as I did last night, “Not to spoil anyone, but what I love about ‘The Walking Dead’ is their willingness to go unafraid wherever the story leads.” I got to say what I wanted to, and no one was spoiled. Then, today, some friends of mine and I discussed it in the comments, but we’re still being a little vague.

  2. The spoiler that is most bothering me these days involves “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler, reviewed by Barbara Kingsolver in the NYT. Kingsolver started with a spoiler apology, as she could not review the book (the way book reviews normally seem to be done, which is to tell you far more about the plot than any curious reader should know in advance) without it. Gratefully, I saw that review AFTER I read the book, leaving me able to find the sweet spot in ignorance. It was bliss. I’ve recommended the book to others with a caution to read nothing about it in advance.

    I’m not into social media, preferring to write than keep up. Yet spoilers still happen. A “friend” told me that her favorite character died in Downton Abbey. I spent an entire season waiting for unnamed character to bite the dust and enjoyed about ten seconds of it as a result.

    Do. Not. Like. Spoilers. No matter where they lurk. Are there anti-spoiler t-shirts out yet?

    • There’s a difference between announcing un-warned-for spoilers all over your Facebook (“OMG I can’t believe Whatshisface died!”) and saying up-front “I’m going to be talking about spoilers for Thing, please be advised.” I’d consider the latter to be common decency, or maybe that’s just the years of being in fandom spaces talking.

      Although, frankly, I wouldn’t be reading reviews of a movie or book before watching or reading it anyway. If it’s interesting enough to pique my interest based on the trailers or the back-cover blurb, it deserves a chance.

  3. I hear you. Spoilers can definitely change how you read a book or watch a show. If I know for sure a character will die, I don’t allow myself to become as attached, for instance.

    Though I often come to series that are finished or in progress, rather than reading them or watching them as they are written or filmed, so I do often find out (or surmise) that a character will still be alive at the end of the book I’m reading, as there is a sequel out already that contains that same character.

  4. Thanks for writing this, Chuck. Well said.

    I have a deal with my close friends on Twitter where I ask them not to spoil something (Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, other things) if they see it hours (or even months) ahead of me. Sherlock will be the next big one, I’m sure. The response was “Oh, okay, that’s cool” and they still tweet or FB something about a show, it’s more along the lines of ‘I can’t believe that happened’ or “WHY Downton WHY?” and I do the same kind of thing.

    When I get to see these friends in person we talk about what we saw. We don’t spoil it for others around us, or at least we try not to, because there’s a respect for the story and someone else’s experience of it. It’s not hard and it’s really the polite thing to do.

    During a certain event on Game of Thrones this year, I tweeted “Holy shit that was brutal.” Like Mary Ann I got to express my feeling without ruining anything for anyone who hadn’t seen it yet. At least that was my intent.

    The sad thing is that being polite is the last thing on most people’s minds these days. Mostly what I see is “Ha! First!”

    • I was so excited to see the social media explosion after that certain Game of Thrones event–I wouldn’t have spoiled it for the world.

      I also continuously harassed my sister about hints of who was still alive as I caught up on the books and I was always glad she didn’t tell me.

  5. I run into the problem of when is a spoiler no longer a spoiler. I’ve gotten fussed at for just saying “I love {regular character}” on Twitter without actually saying anything about the plot of a show… Just because a regular character shows up in an episode, does that mean it’s a spoiler? Also, what is the shelf-life of a plot point being a “spoiler”? As one of the comments stated earlier, you know Watson marries due to the books from over a hundred years ago, so is it a spoiler that Martin Freeman’s Watson is getting a wife?

    Mind you, spoilers have never bothered me. I’ve written for too many show sites to have them irritate me, and I’d actively seek them out to make sure I could frame some lead-ups properly in my blog posts. I wouldn’t post my recaps above the fold, but that to me was the understanding if you click the full post, you’re going to get a spoiler-filled recap or story about the show.

  6. Honestly, the thing that annoys me about spoilers isn’t even the spoileriffic part, since I tend not to read/watch what everyone else is reading/watching. It’s the latter part of your argument that simply tweeting/FBing a spoiler does nothing to the conversation. It’s not clever, it contains little if any commentary on said spoiler. I tweet about what I watch on occasion and don’t have a problem with providing commentary without major spoilers.

    The best part? A good bit of the spoiler crowd (depending on fandom) doesn’t use hashtags, so you can’t just mute the hashtag for a while and be done with it. Supernatural’s fandom is REALLY bad about this, thus I will never watch this show.

  7. How long am I supposed to wait. I never give spoilers in the first 24 hours, but some people seem to think they shouldn’t ever know plot points about any thing they’ve never seen/read just because one day they might. Hate to tell you, guy, but Hamlet dies at the end! I’m in California. I already get everything last (except Hawaii). If you DVRed something rather than watch it real time, how responsible am I for your convenience? And what constitutes a spoiler in a 400-year-old play? I’ve had people yell at me for discussing costumes or stage business in a film of Henry V. I’m sorry, but that’s not acceptable. while you get around to watching your DVR the interest in the topic elsewhere is waning.

    If you don’t want to be involved in the discussion, don’t comment on the post. Even saying “NO SPOILERS” on my Facebook post means you’re now going to get every comment unless you also Unfollow. Grow up and take some responsibility.

    • You do not get everything last in California. I live in the Blue Mountains region in Australia. Because of where I live, my Internet is like something out of the Dark Ages, so I can’t download or stream TV, because my connection crashes. But I can and do access twitter, because it’s how a lot of my friends stay in touch.

      TV air dates in Australia are tricky. We can get things aired at the same time as the US, but since your prime time is our midday, networks only do that for awards shows and the Doctor Who 50th. They also ‘fast track’ some of the bigger shows and air them within 24 hours of the US. But most shows are still shown ‘new’ weeks or even months after the US.

      Just because you’ve been given the chance to see something, doesn’t mean we all have. Be considerate.

    • Now THERE is the perfect question! How long should you wait? IMHO…forever. Your Hamlet example is great in that there are always going to be people who just got introduced to literature/movies/TV shows no matter how long these things have been out. Whether that’s because someone is just now old enough to experience it or because they recently discovered it, there will ALWAYS be somebody who hasn’t heard the surprise and I think we should *always* take care not to spoil it. The thing is, it’s just not that hard to warn people that you’re about to give something away.

    • You think 24 hours is too long? Most of the people I know give it at least a week, if not more, specifically because we’re aware that not everyone watches new episodes as soon as they come out.

      Easy way to tell if you can give out spoilers:

      “Have you seen/read Thing?” If yes, spoilers are okay. If no: “Are you interested in seeing/reading it later? Do you mind if I give you spoilers?” If yes, spoilers are okay. If no, don’t spoil it. Also, “Don’t tell me, I haven’t seen it yet!” is generally a good indicator that spoilers would not be appreciated.

      If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, either assume that at least half of the people following you aren’t familiar with Thing and would like to avoid being spoiled, or preface all your posts on Thing with “SPOILERS FOR THING”. If you’re on Tumblr, tag your shit.

      Is it easier to not worry about spoiling people on Thing? Sure it is! But it’s also a jerk move.

      Also, how much responsibility am I supposed to take in order not to be spoiled? Should I never discuss the stuff I’m watching online? Should I hide or unfollow my friend because she occasionally posts spoilers for The Walking Dead even though I’m still interested in how she’s doing or the recipes she posts? Should I get off Facebook altogether because one person won’t stop posting spoilers? Am I supposed to leave the internet forever on the off chance that someone will tell me about last night’s episode before I can get around to watching it?

  8. As an Australian absorber of American TV, spoilers leave a particularly foul taste in the mouth (Try sometimes a few years between seasons!) and I think it’s generally just a rule of don’t be dick about stuff. some people take a while to get around to stuff because they are doing other things at the time. They shouldn’t be punished for catching onto a show a season or two late or a book series three books in etc. It’s not fair on them as a consumer/audience/reader.

    And in terms of ‘grace periods’ surrounding spoilers, I don’t think there is one. I do a movie analysis podcast with a few friends, and we make sure we give people fair warning of anything discussed whether it’s the most recent Marvel film or The Sixth Sense.

    And always be careful who you spoil around. I remember in high school a kid stabbed another kid in the hand with scissors for revealing the plot of the sixth Harry Potter book.

  9. Couldn’t agree more, Chuck, both as a fan and as a screenwriter. I’ve had The Sixth Sense spoiled for me. I’ve had The Red Violin spoiled for me. It’s at the point where my close friends won’t say ANYTHING to me for fear of my skull splitting open and lasers shooting from my teeth.

    I don’t even watch trailers if I know I want to see a film. And there’s an extra spoiler issue for the writers among us. I remember a friend was saying he enjoyed a film and he said “I think you’ll really enjoy it; it’s got a totally unexpected ending.” And I said, “Oh, so ___________” and described the ending I expected based on a) the trailers and b) it being really unexpected. I was bang on the money. Once you know a bit about how the machine works, the most surprising things can be spoilers.

    My personal policy? I don’t have an expiry date on spoilers. You’ll note I didn’t say above “I had ________ ruined for me in The Sixth Sense.” Even all these years later, there might be people out there who haven’t seen it, who didn’t know. Who I am I take away that fun, and for what reason would I do it?

  10. I think part of it for the spoiler-person (and by that I mean the kind that types “OMG DID U C HOW THAT DUDE WAS TOTALLY THE MUTANT VAMPIRE ALL ALONG” or whatever, thirty seconds after the programme ends) is the mixed-up feeling of importance they get out of it: “I’m soo up-to-the-minute on this shizzle that I might even be the FIRST to say this!” It’s almost like a game, where you score points and ‘level up…’

    (and Twitter DEFINITELY has that vibe now – I was surprised to discover yesterday that I’d ‘unlocked 5 achievements,’ which basically consisted of… using Twitter. And there was me thinking I was just… y’know, talking…)

    My worst experience of a spoiler though was actually in a cinema. I went with my husband to watch Saving Private Ryan, and as the pre-movie trailers ended the woman in front of us, in a very loud voice, piped up to her fella “‘Course I’ve already seen this… ” And then, in her very loud voice, and within the space of less than two minutes, managed to summarise the plot of the ENTIRE MOVIE, from beginning to end. I don’t even know how she did that, but now we knew EVERYTHING that was going to happen over the next two hours. And then, the real kicker – she left about fifteen minutes later! Because of course, SHE’D already seen it – and now, thanks to her – so had we..!

    *Breathes deeply. Eats chocolate*

  11. Actually, for the Doctor Who 50th, my neck of the web (which admittedly is just G+ these days) was remarkably good about spoilers. The spoilery image macros didn’t appear for at least a couple of days, and people who wanted to talk spoilers were good about saying SPOILERS HERE OMG and throwing in enough carriage returns to hide everything below the “read more” link. It’s also the same community that managed to avoid spoiling the season finale even though a couple hundred fans got their DVDs of it early.

    I try to avoid both giving and making them as much as I can. I’ve had some major spoilers thrown at me (Sixth Sense, Catching Fire, that sort of thing) and while it didn’t necessarily ruin the experience for me, I forever lost that gut-punch moment of surprise, and that makes me sad.

  12. Chuck, I completely agree. I think spoilers short circuit the experience of engaging with that story. In fact, I make it a point to never spoil anything for anyone. I will always ask first if they’ve seen, watched, or read whatever it is we are about to discuss, and if they have, great, we talk about it freely, if they haven’t, then I tell them they should check it out, and that I will not spoil it for them. I also don’t post spoilers online. Personally, it is because I really enjoy reading stories, watching TV shows, or seeing movies, and I like that element of surprise, so I think everyone should get to experience the stories fully, because that is part of the fun. Even the term “spoiler” implies exactly that, that the fun is being spoiled.

  13. I believe firmly that people who constantly throw out spoilers are trying to get back at the world for all of the lunch money they had stolen from them as kids.


    Chuck, thank you for writing this post and preventing me from doing something stupid. My boyfriend and I watched the mid-season finale of WD last night, and in a desire to commiserate, I went on Twitter and read what other people were saying.


    I stopped myself from hitting the “Retweet” button, though, when I thought of your post. Normally, I’m not a spoiler, because I usually watch this sort of thing long after the rest of the world. It seems like an impulse, something the spoiler obviously does not think about in their desperate attempts to reach out to others who have seen it. And nowadays, social media is an easy, sit-in-your-underwear-and-scroll-on-your-phone way of reaching out to others in just a few heartbeats.

    But I completely agree it’s obnoxious and should be preceded by giant, red AWOOGA AWOOGA signals. These days if I want to be surprised by Game of Thrones, I basically have to hide in a cave. There is great wonder for a reader/viewer to watch a story unravel before their virgin eyes.

  15. I try to avoid spoiling anything. I’m not on Twitter, but on Facebook I have loads of friends in Australia who don’t always get to see our shows as early as we do, so I’m careful not to spoil anything for them. On the other hand, I can see Amber and Maggie’s point about being confused as to whether something counts as a spoiler when the material has been around for decades or centuries already and most people would have been exposed to it either at school or on cable TV.

    The Walking Dead has existed as a graphic novel, and anyone who reads them therefore knows about certain plot points of the TV show way ahead of time. Same with Game of Thrones – anyone who’s read the books already knew what was coming on that one particular episode, which is why so many people thought to film their friends and family’s reaction to the show as they watched.

    I think for most of the spoiler-happy people on Twitter and FB, they’re just genuinely reacting to the mind-blowing, awesome thing that they have just witnessed and their first instinct is to find someone to talk to about it. I don’t think they’re trying to be jerks (MOST of them.)


    I’ve just never understood the point of spoilers. That is, it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around the self-serving desire to push onto other people one’s experiences and observations about something (usually a piece of art) when those other people have not had their own opportunity to experience or observe that something. It’s cool if you want to tell me about your five-day acid trip at Burning Man because that experience was uniquely yours and because that experience was created, narrated, and determined by you. The experience is fluid, the plot is determined by individuals, not one person. Burning Man simply provides the setting. By telling me about your experience, you’re giving nothing away, not ruining anything. If I ever decide to become a “character” in this setting, then I can write my own story, so to speak.

    But when we talk about the art forms like literature, film, television shows, or video games, we’re talking about fixed texts for which, despite personal interpretation or experience, the narrative details remain the same for everyone. Hey, regardless of how you read it, Robb Stark is dead people (shut up, it’s not even a spoiler at this point) and that fact is true for all readers of GoT. Martin builds the story . . . no wait, carefully, painstakingly crafts this remarkable piece of art around the Red Wedding. As a reader, you pretty much poop your pants when you read this, and it surely goes down not only as the most memorable even in The Storm of Swords, but the whole darn GoT series.

    And this is huge part of why we read: for the payoff. The twist, the shock, the drama, the suspense. Take that away and a story simply becomes a script.

    My humble, and probably much maligned opinion, is this: spoilers are self-serving. People write spoilers because:

    * They don’t understand or appreciate what it means to create a piece of art that balances upon that fine apex of expectation and surprise.

    * They like to advertise their observations because, “Hey, look at what a genius I am! Gaze, mere mortals, upon the razor-edged acumen with which I dispatch and conquer this paltry collection of words and images. Nothing escapes my notice!” Dude, fuck that. Save it for your seminar on Romantic poetry.

    * They’re bored or they can’t find a job.

    * They want to reassure themselves that their views are valid and noteworthy. To this I say, join a reading group or write a blog. But keep your shit to yourself . . . don’t put it on Goodreads or Amazon. Don’t put it in a space where commerce is taking place and writers’ livelihoods are at stake.

    Anyway, thanks, Chuck. This is a topic that I think needs some airing out.

  17. Many years ago before social media, I worked as an usher at a movie theatre when The Sixth Sense came out. I was standing by the line of people to get in to one theatre as it let out so myself and the other ushers could clean it. As dozens of people poured out, many of them would loudly proclaim, “Holy shit! He was dead the whole time!” This was directly in front of people waiting to see the movie who hadn’t yet gotten the chance. Talk about asshole spoilers.
    (For anyone who hasn’t seen The Sixth Sense yet, I apologize. But seriously, if you haven’t seen it after 14 years, you’ll just have to suffer through this agonizing spoiler. Oh…and the Titanic sunk at the end.)

  18. Just to throw this out there, those of us from the gentler sex, watching television in our corsets, are always appreciative of spoilers. Spoilers lessen the shock and surprise of plot twists, allowing us to watch exciting television with our husbands, without succumbing to the vapours. Menfolk find it tiresome indeed to be always fetching the smelling salts during Sweeps Week.

  19. I have a couple of acquaintances who will start talking about a show, and when told, “We haven’t seen it yet, no spoilers, please,” will come back with, “Oh, then I’ll just tell you–” and proceed to give some massive spoiler that they think is vague enough to be safe, but in fact lays out the entire end-game of the story. I’ve actually taken to cutting them off at the “I’ll just tell you” by bellowing “NO YOU WON’T!”, because if they’re going to be inconsiderate assholes, I figure I don’t have to be polite back. (We’ve largely stopped associating with one such person, because — guess what — self-absorbed and inconsiderate; another has finally learned to ask if we mind spoilers on a specific show, and if we say yes, to change the subject.)

    And as for social media, jeez, it’s not like it’s hard to give the un-spoiled a fair warning. LiveJournal/Dreamwidth/etc. offer cut tags. You could probably manage something on FaceBook if you tried. Even back in the prehistoric days of text-only email, we could write
    so that folks who didn’t want to see it could look away before the next line of text leapt into their eye-sockets. It’s not difficult, it just takes a fragment of consideration for People Who Are Not You. Which, granted, seems to be very difficult indeed for some people, but they can fsckin’ learn.


    I would totally watch that. I’m just sayin’.

  20. I guess I’m just really lucky to have friends who DON’T post spoilers =P I also don’t have a lot of friends =/ *curls up in the corner*

  21. I agree that discussion of spoilers should be preceded by a huge SPOILER ALERT, but spoilers really don’t bother me, personally. I fully accept that I’m weird in this. The thing is, though, I don’t read/watch/view/listen to art to be surprised, I do so to be excited. And what excites me, oftentimes, is the structure of it. When I hear “it was so surprising when so-and-so died because of these-factors” (granted, the spoilers I tend to run across are more analytical than simply “OMG THIS HAPPENED”) it doesn’t ruin the death, it makes me anticipate the structure leading up to it MORE.

    I certainly don’t expect people to agree with me, though. I reread books, rewatch movies, put songs on repeat until normal people surrounding me are driven to insanity. I just can’t get sick of stuff. Maybe it has a bit to do with my musical training as a child – I’ve played violin since I was 3, and part of practice was doing “intensive listening” on whatever song I was currently learning. Maybe I consume art dispassionately – I don’t experience the rise and fall as an audience member as much. Or maybe I consume art more passionately – I get excited at the little technical things, the details that are always present even when the actual surprise is gone.

    I’m don’t appreciate art when it surprises me, I guess, I appreciate art for its ABILITY to surprise, and that’s something that’s contained within the structure and craftsmanship of the piece itself, not in how people are moving around it. I’m the person who watched the Avengers movie four times in a weekend (after having already seen it about half a dozen other times). I’m the person who can quote entire sections of books because I read them that much. I’m the person who puts a song on repeat until it racks up hundreds of plays on iTunes. I totally understand why other people don’t like spoilers, but with the way I enjoy stuff it’s not something that really affects me as much.

  22. I agree that there should be a warning for spoilers since I understand where viewers/readers/creators are coming from.

    Personally, I like spoilers. I want to know what`s going to happen. I`m more interested in the process of getting there than the actual there. So if I know what the author/creator is building up to it’s easier for me to see how he is doing the build up. There’s always that sweet, perfect moment when I see how what they`re doing clicks with what I know is going to happen and it’s magical. So you`ll often find me reading spoilers on tvtropes or the comments on imdb. I can`t help it.

  23. I put my hands over my ears and scream “La la la, I can’t hear you,” if someone tries to spoil something in person. Harder online, though :S

  24. UGH, spoilers drive me CRAZY! Being in the UK, we have to wait MONTHS, sometimes YEARS for shows, and if you’re on social media in any way, it’s really hard to keep away from every spoiler throughout that time frame. I’ve had to close my tumblr account because my whole damn feed was ALWAYS spoilers, hours after new episodes aired in the US. I have to admit, some tumblr users are really great about spoilers, warning you they will be posting them with the #spoiler, so if you don’t want to know you have a chance to block that hashtag first. But then I find if I’M waiting months for my favourite show – which ended on a huge cliffhanger – having that spoiler a click away is sometimes just TOO TEMPTING! And I know I don’t WANT to know, not really, but in that moment my willpower is too weak. So spoilers: should be banned at all times! You’re right: they benefit absolutely no one.

  25. I do appreciate a heads up about spoilers at the top of a post; but I also understand some people actually want to discuss a plot point because it has some impact on some other plot point ( can you believe they did x, if totally changes the character motivation from the book!) and I can respect that more than just parroting a reveal.

  26. […] you spoil the fun for your fellow fan, you’re also hurting your favorite creators. Chuck Wendig points that storytellers design their narratives in a certain way and spoilers undermine that. You’re removing the twist from the context that made it powerful in […]

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