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Is there any official policy for mandatory use of the spoilers feature on fiction or literature sites, like http://scifi.stackexchange.com/, or is just a courtesy/fully voluntary?

I didn't see anything on the FAQ.

Is there any particular action that should be taken on posts that do not contain spoiler blocks?

Also, for example What's with the duck pond? I understand that there might not be much left if you blotted out all the spoilers.

Should posts like that be handled any differently?

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In some forums I have seen markup which pretty much said "Spoiler" and only if you clicked on it would the spoiler show up. Might be a good feature request for some of the StackExchange sites. –  Oded Dec 5 '11 at 16:29
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@Oded: I know that there is a spoiler feature that exists on (some) SE sites. This question is about the policy on questions or answers that haven't used that feature, yet contain spoilers. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 16:30
    
Isn't there some sort of wormhole into which they could be thrown? ;) –  Andrew Barber Dec 5 '11 at 16:41
    
@AndrewBarber: Shh, you'll give my plot away... –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 16:43
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I hate spoilers so much. Not the actual plot-revealing text, mind you... The cowardly obsession with blotting it out. If you don't want the plot "spoiled", then what the hell are you doing reading about it on the 'Net? Go watch / read / play until you already know the plot, and then come back... –  Shog9 Dec 5 '11 at 19:27
    
Oh, BTW, about spoilers at the beginning of the question body, with answers regarding the use and abuse of spoilers: Can we please remove spoilered text from the summary? –  Gilles Dec 5 '11 at 22:35

4 Answers 4

I don't think there's any network-wide policy on spoilers. Those particular sites may have policies, but you'd need to ask them. For your scifi example, the question was already asked, but got closed as a duplicate of a post that doesn't seem to address the issue (they focused on how to mark spoilers, instead of whether or not it's mandatory)

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+1; Good point of asking on their meta, and thanks for addressing this network-wide. I'll leave this open for a while, and go ask over there as well. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 16:50

This is not a network policy, but it's my policy.

  • Your question must make sense without spoiler protected paragraphs.
    If the spoiler is the whole point of your question, don't spoiler protect it.
  • Your answer must make sense without spoiler protected paragraphs.
    If the spoiler is the whole point of your answer, don't spoiler protect it.
  • Your title must be easy to Google for. If that means spoilery, so be it.
    If there's a spoiler in the title, don't mask it.
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I'm a Science Fiction & Fantasy mod, and I was getting around to posting much the same points. I'll add another: no spoiler tag, it's meaningless. –  Gilles Dec 5 '11 at 22:24

Literature moderator here.

Literature SE does not yet have a formalized spoiler policy. The issue has never come up yet.

As Michael Mrozek said, there is no network-wide policy. I don't know if Literature will ever develop one, but for now common sense applies: if you are asking about something that can ruin the book for someone, mark it as a spoiler. I don't think this is gonna be a huge issue for Literature, since it should be fairly easy to avoid questions about specific books or authors if you're worried about spoilers.

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Spoiler markup should never be mandatory and is more a courtesy for other users who have never bothered to watch the movie, television show or read the book discussed that's been out for some time.

Inside a year is probably about how much leeway you should have. But then it's entirely possible to write a spoiler free title and first sentence or two without revealing anything too pivotal.

If a user clicks through when they haven't seen it, they've only themselves to scold. Why bother trying to answer about something you haven't got any experience in?

If you're going to ask a question about it, and the title has been out for at least five years, then all bets are off about needing to shield eyes. If you haven't seen the film by that statute of reasonable expectation, it's not coming out of your Netflix queue any time soon.

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