Do You Care About Spoilers?

Image: Game of Thrones / HBO

While it's been a quiet few weeks for game releases, that's not been the case for movies and TV shows. And that makes it a good opportunity for this week's Off Topic to ask: do you care about spoilers?

I'm the kind of person who gets very reflexive whenever a new episode drops and I haven't been able to see it. I enjoy going with the ebb and flow of a show, being caught up in the big surprises and plot twists. That's how the showrunners would want it, I suppose, but it means that I very much do care about spoilers.

It's not a useful trait in my job, considering the amount of times I've had to be inadvertently spoiled. That's the life of an editor, I suppose.

But what about yourselves - do you care about spoilers, or are you ambivalent to it all? Or are you the worst kind of person - the one who doesn't care about spoilers, but loves ruining shows for other people? Vote below, and tell us about your worst/most evocative memory of a spoiler.


    Not really. Its a term thats way overused in any review you watch on youtube. Yea we get it you are going to tell us the story, dont remind us 99 times before you actually tell it. Sometimes if i hear about a big moment before seeing the movie its more interestimg knowing its coming and seeing how the movie gets to that point.

    I feel like the vague 'everything might be a piece to the puzzle' Lost era of TV trained us all to hate information that remotely explains anything, when really most info about a show shouldn't spoil anything. I mean the typical Game of Thrones spoiler would get you excited for the episode not ruin it.
    Good movies, games, books, TV shows, etc don't hinge on key twists. What makes The Sixth Sense better than most of M. Night Shyamalan's other movies is that even though the twist is cool the movie is brilliant one way or another. Fight Club is a great example. I've seen it tons of times knowing the twist and it's still great. It can't be spoiled because it's a great movie.
    I really feel like over the years we've developed a knee jerk reaction to this stuff. People went out of their way to try and ruin Harry Potter and for some reason that convinced us that a book can be spoiled. People won't watch even the slightest teaser trailer to a movie now because they've been convinced that seeing Iron Man's new suit will somehow ruin the Avengers.

    Next time something gets spoiled think to yourself 'did it actually ruin anything or am I just used to being pissed off at people who try and spoil stuff'. Is an episode of Game of Thrones really ruined by a spoiler if at the end of the season when you know everything that's happened you're still amped to go back and re-watch it all?

      Specifically GoT: I have not watched any episodes where the plot has moved past where the books are at. I know that the books may differ somewhat in plot but I am pretty confident that George Martin would not create two radically different, parallel plots, so yeah, I don't want future books spoiled for me. Once the books are released and I've read them, I don't give a stuff about having the episodes spoiled for me.

        Even the show got more and more different through later seasons until it passed the books. I kind of see them as too similar stories. I will probably read through the whole set again once the final two books are released.

      Did you have The Sixth Sense spoiled for you? I remember watching it for the first time. It was probably the first movie I'd ever had spoiled for me, and I avoided seeing it for a long time because of it. All through the movie, I was acutely aware of that plot point, and while I was able to appreciate the clever way the movie misdirects the viewer (people seemingly pushing Willis' character out of their way, ignoring him or rudely interrupting, etc) I felt robbed of that initial reveal. Consequently, I can't hold the film with the same high regard a lot of people seem to because I was never had the chance to be caught by those misdirections, so they lost a lot of their intended impact. It's like watching a card trick, and having a little voice in your head saying "look how he palms the card here with his right hand, while he's directing the audience's attention on his left hand."

      I had a very different experience with Shutter Island and Identity, consequently two of my favourite films of all time because experiencing the reveal unspoiled gave me a greater appreciation for the setup when I watched them for a second/third time.

    Personally I would prefer not to know anything before going into watching anything. (thats why Black Mirror is so brilliant, you never know what you are going to get). But on the other hand I am a realist and know ultimately entertainment is just a luxury item, so laugh when people use spoilers as justification for breaking the law.

    I actually dislike people who share spoilers (more than spoilers themselves). you know the type who just like to troll or because they are indifferent to them and think they are being 'clever' to purposely reveal things. Holding back spoilers is merely a question of good taste and manners.

    In fact, despite all the hysteria, spoiled stories are typically even more enjoyable.

      The conclusion on that may be true, but I remember reading about that study when it came out and I wouldn't call its method particularly scientific or representative. Far too many factors left unaccounted for.

        The major one is what I mentioned below. No accounting for a particular person's anticipation of enjoyment in relation to a particular work. To truly measure whether spoilers make things more or less enjoyable, I propose to enlist 100 or so Star Wars fans who are looking forward to seeing The Last Jedi, which I will then spoil. I will note the results in my journal, assuming, of course, that I am still alive to do so.

      That study has been discredited. The experiments it used did not include works that people were actually looking forward to seeing/watching etc. Anticipation and delayed gratification are major parts of why spoilers are so reviled. Spoilers may objectively enable someone to better appreciate a work (as the study asserts) but in doing so they destroy that anticipation. In short, spoilers are like premature ejaculation.

        'Discredited' by you, I presume? Would you mind flicking me the citation for the articles describing your much better formulated research and results? I presume that you are completely familiar with the author's research methodology rather than simply reading the throw-away media summary.

          Not a repudiation of that particular study, but here is a study in the woeful rate at which psychology experiments fail at peer review.

          Got a link to the peer review of that study?

            You don't get to dismiss studies you don't like by arguing that many published articles could be more scientifically rigorous. The practical result of which is that we all just go ahead and believe whatever we like because, seriously, who needs this science crap, eh?

            If you don't like the thought that the world's climate might be warming, well, 99% of climate scientists are corrupt anyhow, right? If you don't like the stories the mainstream media publishes, it's all just fake news. Opinion is just as good as facts, after all.

            We already know that many published articles are of poor quality. The vast majority of the poorer examples are produced by struggling academics in third rate universities within a flawed system where the overwhelming incentive is ‘publish or perish’.

            I don't intend to invest time here in verifying the veracity of this particular study for the purposes of a throw away comment in a trivial article on a throw away website. I can infer, however, that academics employed at one of the world's top 50 universities, whose work has been identified as worthy of promotion by that university's media department, and that has been widely covered by the mainstream press, is probably at the more credible end of the scale of total academic output.

            Of course, that's just my opinion, and opinions are just as good as facts.

      There's two separate objects of enjoyment to many films, tho, one of which that study seems to completely ignore. Take a murder mystery, for example - there's certainly enjoyment to be had trying to see how the killer gets away with it, and what clues/tells the detective catches onto, but there's a completely separate enjoyment to be had of being part of the guessing game as it unfolds, and coming to your own conclusions, even if they're completely wrong. You only get one chance to have that experience before you know who the killer is, and have to rely on the appreciation of the setup to continue to extract enjoyment from the film.

    I care about spoilers for stuff that I care about, but not for stuff I don't care about.

      Exactly! If only that had been a voting option

    I prefer to experience everything first-hand, so will generally ignore/avoid spoilers like the plague. I'm also not the type of person who will go back and re-watch something I've already seen, unless the ending has particularly clever foreshadowing, or comes completely out of left-field, at which point I'd go back and try to appreciate the setup. I find that most of my enjoyment of a story comes from guessing what's going to happen next - knowing the cliff-notes version beforehand robs me of the main reason I want to experience it in the first place.

    A side effect of avoiding potential spoilers in marketing, tho, is that I often completely miss movies that I'd be interested in seeing. Oh well, I'll get round to them eventually.

    I avoid the bit after the credits in GoT that shows stuff from the next episode. It's also the only thing I don't watch trailers for.

    Honestly I only care about spoilers when I haven't been spoiled. I'll see something with a big twist and think 'that was awesome!' and I'll be weary of spoiling it for others but watching something knowing the twist rarely if ever diminishes the work for me. I've had some long pieces of work that I came to very late spoiled and I've enjoyed them still. I've sought out content after being spoiled because the spoiler sounded awesome ;)

    A plot point reveal has never spoiled a something for me but it does change the experience, as mentioned elsewhere the build up, anticipation, speculation is something in of itself. I absolutely adored the talk between episodes for Life is Strange because we didn't know what was coming, the wild fan theories etc. Great stuff. I think people who aren't part of the anticipation of release get a distinctly difference experience from those that are and spoiling stuff just to do it is lame.

    That said I'm a firm believer in expiry on spoilers, I'm going to reference a spoiler to a pop culture phenomenon released a decade ago that you're 'just about to start' and you're going to have to deal. Aerith dies people!

    The first and worst spoiler for me ever was when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was screening here about 12 months behind the US, and I was chatting online with a friend (ex-friend now!) who casually (and quite on purpose) dropped the comment "wasn't it so sad when her mother died". Ruined the entire season for me and every time I rewatch the episode I wish I'd not known about it prior to that reveal. Still mad about that!

      The Body was a soul crushing episode.

        It hurts my heart just thinking about it! But what a masterful piece of storytelling - all the dangers the group faced on a nightly basis, only to lose someone to something so natural was somehow more awful.

    When I started watching Game of Thrones, my friend who had read the books accidentally slipped that the current last book ended with Jon Snow dying. When it got to that part in the show I was with family & friends that hadn't read the source material and watched as they were in absolute shock as Jon was stabbed. Whilst I found it gratifying to watch their expressions, I was also saddened that I didn't get to share in their shock as we had on many other occasions.

    So yeah, I dislike spoilers.

    Back in the dark days of Australian TV, when a lot of shows were months behind the US, I used to read show descriptions on the internet before seeing episodes myself. But I quickly discovered that I didn't enjoy stuff as much if I already knew what was going to happen. The most memorable example was Dawn's appearance in "Buff the Vampire Slayer". So now I avoid spoilers as much as possible.

    People who deliberately spoil others deserve to go to the Special Hell.

    Spoilers don't bother me because I take the position that 'how' something happens is much more important/enjoyable than 'what' actually happens. The how is what makes a movie or TV show great in my mind.

      You're right in terms of appreciating the craft. You're less focused on the moment of surprise/shock and you start to look at the author's skill in leading up to that moment, which is why those moments are effective. It's a bit like watching a replay of a game of sport. Knowing the result allows you to put aside any nervousness/joy and better analyse the skill of the players.

    If something is good, it's going to be good even if I know what will happen. It's easier to not care about spoilers and watch things at my own pace. Sometimes I get spoiled, more often than not I don't. Being spoiled has yet to stop me from watching something that I'd like to watch.

    If you dont care about spoilers then you're not really into the show your watching.

    I hate that I have to pretty much avoid the internet between the GoT air time and when I get to watch it.

      That's a very broad statement. Some people love shows and simply do not care about spoilers.

    I usually give it a week. I avoid places where I might overtly encounter a spoiler but don't get pissy if I do. After that week though, if something is spoiled then It is on me.

    I remember telling an American i knew a bit that i was looking forward to watching tonight's episode of BSG and finding out who the last cylon was and that i don't want it spoiled because i knew she had seen the episode.

    her response "oh x is the last cylon"

    i actually stopped talking to her after that

    Nope. I care about the craft. Spoilers are basically just part of my lead up to eventually enjoying the show/movie/book/game.

    I'm a pragmatic freak.

    I get invested in the journeys of characters on shows and since spoilers are typically focused on how the character's journey ENDS (dies, or does an important thing, or whatever) i do get pretty upset when i have it ruined for me.

    Depends on what's being spoiled or whether I care about it.

    I worked with a guy who cracked the shits I spoiled The Empire Strikes Back 25 years after it came out. Complained to his manager, who I spent the entire time laughing at while he tried to get me to take it seriously.

    Don't care about spoilers, if anything, I actively try and find on the interwebz the conclusion to a story I may be watching or even a film.

    I made a friend of mine real angry once, and still is, around 1991ish when the film "The Commitments" came out. I went and saw it at the cinema and he was going the following night. He asked "how was it?" and I said "It was good, but they don't make it"

    He was devastated.

    I am getting pretty pissed off at websites I visit and idiots on FB feeling the need to post GoT spoilers.. I stopped watching when the series caught up with the books and don't want to know how the series progresses further until the books are released (unless GRRM happens to fail to finish them... In which case I will revisit the TV series then...)

    Last edited 01/08/17 5:16 pm

    They say that you enjoy something more if you know the spoilers, but I don't think it's true. At the very least, it's not true for me. A real good plot twist is infinitely better experienced first hand.

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