Spoiler Etiquette (Day 92)

Getting something you love spoiled sucks, be it your favorite team playing a big game while you were at work, the season finale of your an awesome show, or that Vader kills Dumbledore’s son, who is people and was dead earth the whole time.

An aside, but importantly: intentionally spoiling someone who doesn’t want to be spoiled is harmful.  Don’t do it, you’re hurting people, even if it isn’t as clear as punching them in the face.

There are three major things in contention:

  1. you can’t un-know things [yet], and experiences are vastly different when you don’t know the result.
  2. discussing awesome things is awesome
  3. a lot of our [social] media has massively blurred the lines between intended audience and people who will incidentally see something

There is no easy balancing of these three: people want to keep using facebook, both to discuss that sweet thing, and to enjoy facebook even if they haven’t yet experienced said sweet thing.

If there was a single ideal set of rules, it would only be ideal because everyone knew them and thus could properly insulate themselves from spoilers while still utilizing most of their media.

As we don’t really have them [yet], the best thing we can do is be conscientious, both of ourselves and of others.  This means avoid places you *know* will have information about something you don’t want spoiled.  It also means that you should prioritize seeing something sooner rather than later; the world is not perfectly structured, knowledgeable, and conscientious, so the more time and exposure you have the more likely you are to be incidentally spoiled.

Be cautious when discussing new media around people: its a trivial time expenditure to check if everyone in the social group has seen something, and if they haven’t if they care about it being spoiled.

I wish it was easy to balance the want to share and discuss awesome things with the want to experience them firsthand, but its not.  So do what you can to get what you want, and make the world the world that gets you what you want.


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