Question: Can We Really Still Be Angry About Spoilers?
It's Game of Thrones season again, which means we see one word more than the actual title of the show: spoilers. The nature of the show means there's a pivotal moment in every episode — ruin the surprise for those who haven't seen it yet and prepare to suffer the consequences. There are few people as angry as a scorned Game of Thrones fan.
But in this internet age, is it still justified to get angry at a spoiler? We know articles, statuses and tweets start flowing as soon as an episode airs, so shouldn't we be accustomed to dodging them at all costs?
Of course, we're not talking about spoilers before a show has aired — that's just cruel. Remember when shots of Sam Frost and Sasha Mielczarek were leaked before The Bachelorette finale? Devastating. But when it comes to television that's available to the masses, is it fair game? We asked around the office to find out.
You better settle in, there's some real passion here.
TV show spoilers: where do you stand?
"People are living in a fantasy land if they think they should be able to be anywhere online when they haven't watched something. This is no different to the challenges faced by someone who missed their football team play and had it recorded at home on the VCR. Don't turn on the radio and don't talk to anyone. This is not a new problem. Spoilers happen — Jon Snow died and then came back to life. Don't like it, don't go online." — David
"Mark the content 'spoilers' and try to avoid spoiling in headlines." — Danny
"I find spoilers used to really ruin a show for me. I'm originally from the UK and have lots of friends in the States, so spoiler Facebook statuses used to be a way of life. But now Australia is getting shows fast-tracked, and we're getting to see the new episodes as they air over there . . . Godsend! Now I watch them week-to-week and keep up to date with all the conspiracy theories as they come. To be honest I'd love to binge-watch GoT like I used to back in the first seasons (watching five to eight episodes in one sitting), but with great popularity comes great spoilers — so you simply have to keep up. I hate it when people whinge about seeing what happens before they've watched it. Get over it. We now get the episodes at the same time — due to demand! So get on board, or start making a comfy home under that rock." — Justine
"Don't want to know who died in GoT? Stay off the bloody internet."
"I feel like spoilers are totally fine *unless* they're in the headline, in which case no. I just want a warning so I don't click!" — Lisa
"Back in the old days, if you didn't want to know the football or Oscars results, you didn't listen to the radio or turn on the TV until you could watch your VCR recording. Don't want to know who died in GoT? Stay off the bloody internet. You are an adult and you are responsible for what you do/see/hear on social media. If you have time to argue about it on FB, you have time to catch up. If it matters that much, just watch the show asap." — Alex W.
"I love spoilers. I actively seek out spoilers. I love them so much I even wrote about it." — Spandas
"People's TV viewing habits are changing really quickly — they are banking up shows to watch in binges sometimes for weeks, or even simply leaving shows for a few days because they are busy doing other things. However, I've long believed one of the best things about rapid-fire TV coverage is how it creates a great sense of community — people are keen to compare their take on their favourite show with that of a brand or writer they follow. Things that happen on TV shows are news! People also realise the internet is a wild place. If you are really determined to avoid spoilers you have to go dark; reasonable people won't mind if they trip over a spoiler here or there." — Paul
"I'm a firm believer that you need to be ready for all knowledge to be on the internet. The title of an article should make it clear that there are spoilers, but it is up to the reader to avoid it! Also, be careful with images." — Xander
"The internet cannot be censored (unless you live in China) and people have the right to free speech. If people are concerned that going online would ruin the plot of a TV show they have yet to see then they restrain themselves from going online — or shut up and take that risk. You can't expect people to hold off discussing something due to your personal schedule." — Quang
"There should be a 72-hour maximum 'time hold' on episode spoilers, and a zero-tolerance policy on movie spoilers."
"If you don't want to know, don't look. It shouldn't be up to others to censor themselves online." — Marisa
"While I do believe that the world should be spoiler free, we cannot prevent slip-ups from individuals and from the media. Therefore I believe there should be a 72-hour maximum 'time hold' on episode spoilers, and perhaps a zero-tolerance policy on movie spoilers. Reason is simple: Game of Thrones (for example) has a massive following and the discussion of storylines is unavoidable. Majority of people can easily find their own way around viewing episodes (legal or not); they should be able to discuss this freely after a considerable period of time. This extends to social media. It shouldn't be OK to post anything regarding an episode — a quote, picture or an opinion — within 72 hours. For movies, people should not be talking about spoilers, period. Movies are a lot harder to see than an episode of a TV show." — Nina
"Spoilers will never go away, but they should be avoidable. People can and will talk about things that are happening, so if you want to go spoiler-free you already know to steer clear of some places — Facebook and Twitter, for example. Publishers, of course, want to follow the conversation, and so it makes sense they will immediately start talking about the happenings as well. Which is alright. The problem comes when you stumble across spoilers — such as the front page of a website you habitually check. There is absolutely no reason for a spoiler to be a headline. As a basketball nut, my computer almost went out the window the other day when the front page of a major website had a HEADLINE that gave away the final result. Why couldn't that have been buried in the text?" — Josh
"The world isn't going to stop because one person hasn't seen the latest episode of a show. If you claim to be a devoted fan of [insert show here], I think it's your responsibility to watch it on time, every week. If you don't have time it is, again, your responsibility to do what you can to avoid spoilers online — surely you love the show enough for things not to be spoilt? If you absolutely must be online, train your eye to skim over any keywords you see pop up in newsfeeds that give away key plotlines." — Ashling
"I'm not a fan of GoT so I couldn't give a damn if people post spoilers about the show."
"Prior to season six of Game of Thrones, I was a firm believer that any and all spoilers were fair game. Now that the show has overtaken the books, I've revised my position to killing spoiler advocates with fire. I guess what I'm saying is: it depends on context." — Chris
"Personally, I'm not a fan of GoT so couldn't give a damn if people post spoilers about the show. However, I do have a problem with people posting rants about spoilers. We get it, you're frustrated someone ruined the surprise. But if you really didn't want to know WHY ARE YOU ON THE INTERNET and not watching the episode immediately like the 'true fan' you are? In addition, people who intentionally ruin it for others are despicable humans. Do you really need to post a not-so-cryptic status about something that ended three seconds ago? For publications, a 'spoilers ahead' disclaimer is always welcome and appreciated, so fans can make the choice to proceed or not. Media outlets that post photos that give away too much (*cough* ruin The Bachelorette finale before it airs) should be banned from social media and/or the internet." — Jade
"Articles: titles shouldn't spoil anything. First paragraph should read 'spoilers ahead.' Facebook: 'Spoilers' should be the first word in the status, then say what you will. Twitter: spoil away." — Ben
"I was a firm believer that any and all spoilers were fair game. Now that the show has overtaken the books, I've revised my position to killing spoiler advocates with fire."
"I can understand how it would annoy people who are invested in a particular show/movie, and while I don't particularly like spoilers I know to stay away from places where they might appear (hello, cyber space!). If I must venture into spoiler territory I tread with caution, and by 'caution' I mean scroll super-fast past things that might give too much away. If I haven't seen the episode and people are already talking about it, it's my own fault really." — Carina
"I think you can have a spoiler, and then you can have a spoiler. There's no need to have the winner of The Bachelor/MasterChef/ANTM in the title of the article or the main image. If a reader doesn't know who won and still wants to find out, not giving everything away in the headline will get them to click in and read it anyway . . . Everyone wins!" — Verity
"This. See this? ---------------------> SPOILERS BELOW <---------------------------
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That is the etiquette one shows to fellow netizens, to give them adequate warning that spoilers abound, and that one might want to avert one's gaze. Because the internet is about freedom. The internet is about liberty. The internet is about people being able to choose their own damn destiny. To pick your own name, and create your own online presence, and to consume what you want to consume. If I want to learn the deep dark secrets of the internet, then I can do so. But if I want to live a happy, merry life somewhere between my social media and my favourite entertainment website(s), then I should be able to do so without being FORCED to consume things I don't want to consume. What has been seen can never be unseen, and cans of worms that have been opened cannot be closed, and you can't put the nasties back into Pandora's box. So once you ruin the ending,
"It's just television. It's just entertainment. And it's not that serious."
"I'm one of those who will look for the spoilers. I don't really want to be waiting; I just want to get the end result rather than wait around for a full week for it. I am now of the view that most spoilers are click-baity in any case. It's hyped up and then the complete opposite happens. I guess I am impatient!" — Bianca
"Devil's advocate: if you're invested in a show/team/sport to the point where reading spoilers causes you to crumble into a pile of angst-infused ash at the mere mention of the words 'hold the door,' you might want to take responsibility for your own forays into social media. Sport — and to a certain extent, Game of Thrones — is a cultural event that people want to react and respond to immediately. And that's their right. Sure, it's nice and respectful to keep massive plot twists secret for a decent amount of time, but I've seen some incredibly aggressive Facebook posts re: spoilers. People threatening friends who have watched something cool on TV and want to talk about it in a public space! It's just television. It's just entertainment. And it's not that serious. TL;DR: be respectful, try not to spoil things, but take responsibility for your own social media use if spoilers are an issue for you." — Mark