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"Do we worry too much about spoilers?", 13 days ago, 3:40 PM #1
straker

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I remember years ago, reading an interview with Stephen King in Marvel's Dark Tower comic series (one of the last things I really followed by Marvel). And one of the questions that he was asked, by the interviewer, is a question that a lot of fans obviously wanted to ask. The events of the saga were being told in chronological order so a lot of pre Book I material was presented first unlike in the books where the majority of Wizard and Glass (Book IV) was told in flashback. This meant that Roland's early years were to be told first in the comic. Anyway, fans had a right to be concerned, despite the fact that they should have known the story already. Maybe they were concerned on behalf of potential fans.

Anyway, Stephen King's response was this: "There are no spoilers. Ever! You have to let go of this spoiler crap, man. A good story is a good story. You don't say you're never going to watch The Wizard of Oz again just because you know how it ends."

I remember it almost verbatim because of that last sentence. I think we do worry about spoilers a little too much. Could it be because a lot of modern serial fiction is chiefly depenent on predictably unpredictable plot twists (who lives, who dies, do they/don't they). They are, in retrospect, unremarkable the second time around. Lost, for intstance, doesn't lend itself well to a second viewing. I'm apoligize in advance, but neitherr does Game of Thrones. On the other hand, despite the plot twists in Babylon 5 or Blake's 7, something about them draws me to watch them again. And at this point, is the big reveal in The Empire Strikes Back really much of a spoiler anymore? And knowing the ending of Maison Ikkoku shouldn't really matter since we know that stories like this are supposed to end like that. It's almost a universal truth. It just would feel wrong any other way.

I think that a lot of TV shows now are written to be addictive and like to add soap operea style plot twists that are designed to attract attention and viewers and constantly have them on the edge of their seats. Same time as the old daytime soap operas. But in science fiction, for me, it was never all of these convoluted character relationships that I followed. It was the sci-fi concepts and the way it drew us in encouraging us to use our imaginations. What is this (insert alien artifact) Where did it come from. Who built it?. Real spoilers, to me, would be to write stories that explicitly explain where the Vger ship came from or why some Klingons have smooth foreheads? Who was that unseen enemy Alliance that the Visitors kept referring to in V. Is Deckard a replicant? What planet did the Close Encounters aliens come from...and so on.


So it might just be me. I might have a different definition of spoilers.
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13 days ago, 4:07 PM #2
deo101
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I'm personally someone who enjoys a story more if I know where it's going. I want to know if it's going to be worth my time to invest into certain things, and if not, I'll invest my energy elsewhere (elsewhere in the story, not necessarily into other stories). I think most good stories are enjoyable as a journey instead of a goal.

It's like how if i know the punchline to a joke, it can still be funny with a good delivery.

However, some people enjoy investing into the whether-or-not things and love the "mystery" of it all, and i think it's my job as a storyteller to respect that.
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13 days ago, 4:24 PM #3
Eli Cosmanis

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was trying to watch somebody review classic doctor who stories and the dude kept saying 'spoiler warning'. nevermind that these stories are practically ancient and on most sites there would be images in the banner depicting these spoilers for all to see. i guess that day i became one of the meanies that mkwizard turns of their computer at.
13 days ago, 4:53 PM #4
ShaRose49

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Yeah people definitely worry too much about spoilers. They think that people will love the story more if they are shocked repeatedly, but for me, all the soap-opera-esque plot twists are not enjoyable. Like you said, it”s predictably unpredictable. I agree with Stephen King that a good story is what matters. I think all these hyped up spoiler alerts actually end up disillusioning me and many others, getting you all hyped up for something that isn’t so crazy as it’s trying to be.

Sometimes I do appreciate not knowing something beforehand so I can experience it in the story myself. But I never mind if I accidentally find out a bunch of spoilers. It’s never, I repeat, never ruined a good story for me
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13 days ago, 5:05 PM #5
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I don’t like spoilers personally. I like to be surprised when I watch something so I can get into it.
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13 days ago, 5:11 PM #6
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Depends, I rewatch some of my favorite series or movies for other reasons, interesting characters, dialogue, and moments that just don't lose their flavor no matter how many times you watch them. But at the same time there is something to be said about those big moments in shows that catch you off guard, like a reveal in a thriller or murder mystery. Some things I watched and enjoyed the first time around and can't watch it again (seven for example) but I'd still say it's a good movie, just that the suspense and the mystique from the first time watching was what gave the movie appeal to me, as opposed to other stuff that might just be compelling to rewatch regardless that you know ____ dies or the aliens attack or what have you
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13 days ago, 5:34 PM #7
LeRenardRoux
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IDK one of the best literary experiences of my life was reading the Scarlet Pimpernel for the first time in school not knowing the Pimpernel's identity. I guess it's kind of obvious in retrospect but it was so emotional and thrilling and then the fallout of the discovery shapes the rest of the book so much. I've reread it several times and it holds up, but it's a different experience knowing what happens.

So I guess like... serial stuff with dishonest "twists" shouldn't negate a legitimate way of generating and keeping interest.
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13 days ago, 5:55 PM #8
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It's really hard to gauge, personally. There have definitely been times where I have found out about something that happens in a movie I haven't seen yet and instantly I don't want to watch the movie anymore, even when my friends highly recommend it to me. There's this weird middle ground where just knowing a spoiler out of context can make me feel disappointed.

I do think that being genuinely surprised by fiction can be a marvellous feeling! Similarly to Roux, I read Pride and Prejudice and was shook to the core at how that whole plot played itself out. I enjoy anticipating certain events that I suspect are going to happen, but having a beat-for-beat dump of spoilers can sometimes dampen the magic.

However, when friends talk about how their stories are going to play out, it feels much different. So spoilers to movies/video games tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth, but discussing the meat of stories that are in-progress is incredibly cool.
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13 days ago, 6:04 PM #9
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In my experience, it's a relative minority of stories that are seriously diminished by spoilers.
Some times, something is written to lead the public on a false interpretation of events and then an unexpected twist is part of the experience. The surprise can be part of a story's effect, so please don't spoil those.
But for most stories, nah, seeing how it builds up and appreciating the details is more than the line between point A and point B. Like I can say "The next Avengers movie will include some method to undo the Thanos snap" (come on you know it will) and nobody can legitimately be upset by that because it's how they'll go about it that matters.

So in my opinion:
- Giving spoilers when they're not wanted is rude.
- They're also not really a big deal, for the most part.
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13 days ago, 7:26 PM #10
MK_Wizard

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To answer your question, I wouldn't say it's the worst thing to worry about, but I do believe that it is only good etiquette a spoiler warning because lots of people want to be surprised plus writers work very hard at surprising their audiences. When you tell everyone what happens before it does, it's kind of not very nice.
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13 days ago, 7:54 PM #11
straker

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Some things I take into consideration when discussing plots are the age of the story and whether or not it's a matter of common knowledge to most people. The example I used was the big reveal in Empire Strikes Back. Also, to Doctor Who fans, we all know what it means when the star actor announces he's leaving the role. We also kind of know that nobody stays dead in Marvel Comics except Uncle Ben. It used to be him and Bucky until...

And Star Trek III the Search for Spock. It's doubtful that many considered the possibility that they wouldn't find him.

With webcomics, its easier to get caught up to speed so it takes less effort to become a new reader. You don't have to hunt down old issues to get caught up. You can also jump right in as a virgin to the story without being influenced by the pop culture exposure that does often give away plotlines. It's one reason why I avoid movie trailers.
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13 days ago, 8:58 PM #12
Fluffythespider
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This one's really easy to circumvent, just weave fake spoilers in among the real ones. That's what my sister has done to me and vice versa, so then it's more of a game of trying to figure out with one is going to happen.

More seriously, I went into Harry Potter knowing that Snape kills Dumbledore and a couple other "twists". If I ever watch Star Wars I'll already know that Darth Vader is Luke's father, that Yoda dies, etc. If it's a good story, it should hold up.
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12 days ago, 12:04 AM #13
Chernobog

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I think a little spoilage is not altogether a bad thing. It can even intrigue the listener/viewer more so to checking out the rest of the story. I can't think of how many times I watched a major movie scene on youtube, only to want to follow up on the entire movie to see what led up to that awesome moment.

There's also the question of when does something stop being spoil worthy? Forever? A few years? I've noticed a lot of folks unofficially have a very certain idea of when, if ever, but rarely is anyone on the same page. And then the squabbling and inner fandom meltdown begins.
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12 days ago, 1:05 AM #14
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Some things probably wouldn't have the same effect for me if it were spoiled. Like Thanos finger snap or King K. Rool being in Smash Bros. While it's great to not have certain elements foretold by outside influences, a good story is a good story. If your story falls apart because the surprise was lost, then it probably falls under the category of "this gets worse the more I think about it." Though, I try to avoid spoilers when I can.
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12 days ago, 1:28 AM #15
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I don't think it's fair to tell people they worry too much if it makes it less fun for them.

Personally, it really depends. Sometimes, I seek out spoilers because I'm losing momentum on a series and want to get pumped. Other times, spoilers really bring down the experience in two big ways.

First, like people have been saying, it ruins the aha moment, which can be one of the most fun parts of reading. Don't we all wish we could read our favorite series for the first time again, where the hero gaining courage and standing up for themselves surprises us, where we don't know about the traitor, where we don't know who'll survive the battle?

Second, it can leave a sense of dread. If I know my favorite character dies, I can spend the entire season dreading it, and it can really bring down the mood. Knowing about a poorly written ending infects not just the finale, but the whole series, and instead of getting to enjoy most of it, I'm just sitting there going "ugh, but I know it's going to end in a forced romance and the entire arc getting retconned"

Spoilers matter... as much as they matter to you. I think it's polite to be considerate. It's not required. There are limits to how far you should be expected to go to be considerate. And finding out info due to a prequel isn't really a spoiler IMO. It's an intended part of the narrative.
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12 days ago, 1:33 AM #16
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I would rather not be spoiled at all. Though I love Naruto and enjoyed watching it, I'm still to this day kind of sad that I knew so much about what happens and who dies when I watched it. I recently watched Crimson Peak, and though that movie is a beautiful imperfect mess it was really cool to just go into it knowing nothing other than that there were ghosts and it was a Victorian period drama. I rarely get to watch a movie with so little knowledge of what happens in it and it just feels so /good/.
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12 days ago, 2:45 AM #17
kevintheradioguy

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There was a research made not long ago that uncovered that a person actually enjoys the media more if they are given spoilers, so there's that.
But people still hate them. My theory? - Baa-baa-baa.
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12 days ago, 8:38 AM #18
LeRenardRoux
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Nevermind, the verdict is in, guys. A study has been vaguely alluded to and we haven't done an instant 180. We are truly the easily led sheeple of the earth.
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12 days ago, 12:29 PM #19
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There's a reason the phrase "I wish I could see it for the first time, again" is used every now and then.

I love surprising people, and I love being surprised. It's fun, and it doesn't always have to be cheap and gimmicky.

Picture something like this; you're watching a very tense movie, and a huge plot point completely catches you off guard! When you watch this movie AGAIN, this time, you're able to enjoy it in an entirely new way. You're suddenly catching onto the foreshadowing. The character dynamics and meaning behind their actions suddenly have much more depth to them. I adore when stories are able to be enjoyed both the first time (surprises and all), and upon re-watching. When you avoid spoilers, you get to experience the full spectrum, so maaaybe it's fair that some people worry about them. I've also been avoiding trailers. Feels like they give away half the movie, sometimes.
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12 days ago, 4:54 PM #20
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Of course you can enjoy a story too even if you already know what is going to happen. This can even add an element of anticipation that you don't get with a story unknown to you. (In the vein of: "Ah, now comes the best part!")

On the the other hand, it's also nice to get completely surprised by a story once in a while. And since you only get one opportunity to experience a specific story this way, I can understand why many people get angry when they get robbed of said opportunity.
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