Something needs to be done about the way spoilers in posts are treated when they are e-mailed as a notice of a new post. As it is now, the spoiler shows up completely clear in the e-mail, without even a hint that it is a spoiler. Needless to say, this completely vitiates the purpose of a spoiler box.
Is there a way to fix this? Is someone working on it?
My ideas for possible solutions (in order of preference):
Spoiler text is deleted from the e-mail, and replaced with a message to that effect. The rest of the post is untouched.
If the post includes a spoiler box, the e-mail simply says that there is a new post, and doesn’t include any of the text. (This is like the old way, before the post was quoted in the e-mail.)
The spoiler text is included in the e-mail, but preceeded with a prominent SPOILER warning, and possibly a few blank lines to push the spoiler text down the screen a little. This would give people a chance to avert their eyes if they wished.
Can something be done?
No, not completely. There are still some folks who browse the boards without using e-mail notification, and for those folks, the spoiler box still works fine.
The problem here is that the spoiler feature is not part of stock vBulletin, but is a feature added in by the Straight Dope staff. It’s fairly straightforward to create a custom tag which will change the background color in the thread itself, but it would require pretty intensive hacks to get the mailer and the mouseover previews and all the other portions of the Board machinery to recognize it too. And the staff here is extremely reluctant to implement any hacks to the vBulletin code, for very good reason. I’m afraid that the only practical remedy is to just not subscribe to any threads which you suspect may end up containing spoilers.
If I remember correctly (and I never subscribe to threads, so I really don’t know) things contained in quote tags don’t show up in emails (or mouseovers). So the ideal solution ought to be to get people to use double tags when posting spoilers: