Spoiler. Spoiler Alert. In an age of social media, and with the lightning speed in which information comes at us these days, the term spoiler alert seems to be popping up more and more….and more. Just recently, there was a conversation on my favorite radio morning show where they were trying to determine proper spoiler alert etiquette. They didn’t necessarily come to an agreement (some said a month, some said a year, and some said you should never give a spoiler) but it gave me some food for thought…is it even POSSIBLE to come to a conclusion?
Case Study 1: “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation”
In Season 6 of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard gets angry because Sheldon “spoils” a key plot point in the final Harry Potter book (if you’ve seen the show, you know what the discussion is. I won’t repeat it, because, well…spoilers!). This leads to a huge fight that really is based on a lot of other issues that Leonard has been holding on to (that’s a topic for a psychology post). However, if you dig deeper into the the actual conversation, it proves to be excellent fodder for discussion. As highlighted in a review of the episode by Den of Geek, Leonard was reading the Harry Potter book in question nearly TEN YEARS after it was published and several years after the movie was produced. So, ignoring the glaring discrepancies in Leonard’s lack of fandom, should someone really be responsible for saying “spoiler alert” nearly 10 years after something comes out?
Case Study 2: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Co-worker Spoiler Aversion
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was released in mid-December. I saw the movie on “preview night” (the Thursday night before it’s official release on Friday). The next day, I was not able to say anything to any of my co-workers in the office. I got a lot of “What did you think? Was it good? No spoilers though!” I totally understand that. In fact, I had even left a geeky group on Facebook because they advertise being spoiler friendly and I didn’t want to take the risk. Over a month later, there is one lingering co-worker who has yet to see the movie. While it doesn’t seem that he is making a concerted effort to go see it, he does not want anyone to spoil it for him. So, as an office, we have not been able to discuss the movie- except certain individual private, whispered conversations. Not one spoiler has been uttered.
These are two extreme examples of a spoiler alert- from one month to ten years. After talking to various people and conducting a poll on Facebook, the fairly general consensus seems to be:
- The statute of limitations is different for a movie, book, television show (episode versus series), and video game.
- The spoiler limitation for a movie can range from one to six months depending on the popularity of the movie.
- A book, video game, or a television series ending wrap-up should never be spoiled.
- A television episode shouldn’t be spoiled at least through the end of it’s current season.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you agree?
What are your personal preferences and/or behaviors when it comes the infamous spoiler and subsequent spoiler alert?
Be sure to share with me!