What is the rule on spoilers? Is there a time limit?

The exchange is here, starting from post 5 and going on intermittently to post 29.

I don’t know about movies, but the best rule of thumb I’ve heard about TV series if it’s the series finale, and you are a real fan, you should be there on time.

Common sense needs to also come in play. The series finale of Mandalorian Season 2 streamed on Friday 3am last week, and assholes were already posting spoilers at 4. It is pretty unreasonable to ask even the biggest Star Wars fans to stay up that late to watch the show especially on a work night.

I’m super-careful. I give a warning for anything that isn’t part of the collective consciousness, or vernacular, like “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Romeo & Juliet,” or “Ruby Slippers.” In other words, I wouldn’t feel a need to give a spoiler warning for any of the works that those things reference (the last, of course, referencing the movie, not the book).

But unless a work has both age and extraordinarily wide-spread popularity, I wouldn’t count on it not being possible to spoil it for someone. I probably don’t need a spoiler alert for *To Kill a Mockingbird," but I would probably use one anyway. I know that the book is taught in high schools across the US, and in some 7th & 8th grades as well, but that doesn’t mean that someone who grew up in another country, or was home-schooled, won’t complain when you spoil it.

You wouldn’t think you’d have to alert for Star Wars either, but I do. There might be a 20-something reading who hasn’t seen it, as unlikely as that it; it happens that I worked with one. She was 24, and had never seen any Star Wars movie. She said she wanted to see it (or “them,” I don’t remember) but never had time. When she got married, I gave her a boxed set of the original movies (ie, IV-VI) from the 1970s & 80s as a gift. About 3 months after her wedding, she ran up to me at work, and said something like “Oh my gawd! Star Wars is so great! I can’t believe I’d never seen it until now! Thank you!”

So, it could have been spoiled for her, but it wasn’t. Somehow she managed to avoid that.

Better safe than sorry. I haven’t even figured out how to use the “blur” on this forum, so I just announce [SPOILER], and even that takes very little effort.

I am with you and have no problem decrying spoilers on such a short timeframe.

But on the flip-side do I need to spoiler tag who Luke’s father is?

How “The Graduate” ends?

Where is the line drawn?

Is there a line?

Here are the literal rules:

Most pertinent part of the rule for this Op:

(1) In the thread title, say "Spoilers"
When starting a new thread, the easiest (and probably the best) way to warn for spoilers is simply putting the word “spoilers” in the title of your thread, like so:

Thread title: ** Question about LORD OF THE RINGS (warning: Spoilers!)**

Maybe this should go to ATMB

It is specific to Café, Café has a specific rule on spoilers. Let’s keep it here.

Ok…well…the rule you posted before puts it on the poster. But the problem is while I have seen “Star Wars” not everyone who will visit may have.

But “Star Wars” is over 40 years old.

We can go back further. Do I need to spoiler who/what Rosebud is?

At this point in history there will always be people who have not seen something or read something if for no other reason than they are young.

So, do I need to spoiler tag “Citizen Kane”?

You won’t get in trouble for Citizen Kane or The Lord of the Rings like the example. But as C K Dexter Haven said, “probably the best” to put [Spoilers] in the title if there will be spoilers.

If the work is recent though, it has to say so if there are going to be spoilers.
The Professional didn’t really need the tag, but it was nice that it had it.

The other side of this, you see a thread talking about Game of Thrones and it doesn’t have a tag, don’t expect it to be spoiler free. If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read the thread.

With Streamers we have people that are looking forward to but haven’t seen the last season of The Good Place, any thread on The Good Place should say if it is [Spoilers] or [No Spoilers].

If the thread says [No Spoilers] and is about Citizen Kane, then posting open spoilers is a jerk move.

I’ve never understood the idea that spoilers should have a time limit. The reason why some older works are sometimes considered unspoilable is just that the twist is so widely known that it seems unlikely that people hadn’t heard of it. It’s never been about time elapsed.

This is even more obvious in the current day, looking at the rise of streaming. TV seasons are often released all at once, with the assumption that people will watch at their leisure. And it’s expected you’ll stumble upon old movies to watch.

Rather than make any assumptions on what people know about, the courtesy these days is to give people a heads up that you’re about to spoil something. It’s part of the general culture now–even to the point that we do it for old movies like Citizen Kane. We want people to have the chance to watch something the way people did when it first released, if at all possible. They can choose to not take that opportunity, but we seem to think it should be their choice.

Heck, it’s become a very popular video format: the blind reaction to a work of media. It allows those who know it very well to vicariously get to see what it’s like to see it for the first time again. As long as I find someone who is genuine in their responses, it’s one of my favorite genres of YouTube video.

I guess what I am wondering here is what I need to do when revealing big plot points but plot points that are widely known unless you are a kid and haven’t gotten around to it yet.

For example:

  • Darth Vader: Luke, I am your father - Star Wars
  • Rosebud is a sleigh - Citizen Kane
  • The chick is dude - The Crying Game
  • The ship sinks - Titanic (this one seems a joke but I actually had someone complain when I mentioned this)

The list can be long.

I am all for being cautious and letting it be known in the thread title that spoilers may be there but as a poster it is easy to think you aren’t giving away anything on an old movie and innocently spoil something.

Unless the title of the thread or the Op requests no spoilers, none of your examples would be a problem. But if you’re looking for a clear line, we can’t provide it.

It also gets tricky where the thread is talking about Alien then someone comes in and
says the scene in Space Balls with John Hurt and the chest-burster is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.. Even though Space Balls is an old movie, that would be jerkish to not spoil as no one reading the thread should expect a spoiler for Space Balls.

Got it. Thanks.

Mostly common sense and some consideration for others will see you by most of it.

That sums it up beautifully.

On the other end of the spectrum, some complaining about spoilers is basically being jerkish.

A thread on classic movies and lines from the Maltese Falcon, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, the Wizard of Oz, etc. aren’t being jerkish, the complainer is being foolish and if ranting in the thread itself, should be at least modnoted to stop.

Just popping in to agree with What_Exit. No one is going to face official board sanctions for spoiling “The Wizard of Oz” unless they do so in a thread titled “no spoilers”. But it’s polite to warn of or hide spoilers, especially because these days, with streaming, people don’t all see a movie or a show at the same time. And on the flip side, if you are just now watching a show that everyone was talking about months ago, and you don’t want to be spoiled, you should probably avoid any thread discussing that show unless it explicitly says “no spoilers” in the title.

Relevant XKCD

Every work of art is viewed for the first time by everyone, at some point or another. Yes, Citizen Kane is ancient, but there are still people who have never seen it yet, but will eventually. It’s just as much a spoiler for them as it is for the people whose first viewing was at the Hollywood premier with Welles on the red carpet.

You can still use the [spoiler] tags too, and it will blur anything you want to hide.

Totally agree—not just the quoted part but the whole response.

I haven’t seen The Graduate. I wouldn’t go into a thread specifically about The Graduate, and if I did I would do so knowing I may have it spoiled. However, I might be mildly miffed if I went into a more general thread and it was spoiled.