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  1. #1
    Lenient Tyrant/Moderator Brian Cronin's Avatar
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    Default Spoiling Twists In Older Works of Fiction

    Do you think there exists a time limit on when you can spoil a film/book/comic's twist?

    Is it okay to talk about the end of Citizen Kane to someone who hasn't seen it?

    The end of The Crying Game?

    The end of Watchmen?

    The end of The Sixth Sense?

    Or should you always be cognizant of spoilers to people who have not seen/read the work?

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Cronin View Post
    Do you think there exists a time limit on when you can spoil a film/book/comic's twist?

    Is it okay to talk about the end of Citizen Kane to someone who hasn't seen it?

    The end of The Crying Game?

    The end of Watchmen?

    The end of The Sixth Sense?

    Or should you always be cognizant of spoilers to people who have not seen/read the work?

    -Brian
    I think it's a combination of

    A. How obscure the work is
    B. How old it is

    I am not much of a spoilers guy, though, so I could be wrong.

  3. #3
    misanthrope brundlefly's Avatar
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    In general conversation with other people, I don't abstain from talking about the endings or twists or whatever of a movie, book, comic, etc. But if I'm recommending it to someone or talking to someone who makes a point that they haven't read/seen it, I'll try not to spoil. Unless they give me the "I'm never going to get around to actually reading/watching that; just tell me what happens" go ahead.
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. - Robert Heinlen

  4. #4
    More Donald than Charlie stealthwise's Avatar
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    Don't give anything away.

    About anything.

    Man, I hate when someone posts a new thread that says "should I read Watchmen?" or "just ordered it," and then some asswipe comes along and spoils the ending of it.

    spoilers:
    Spoiler tags are our best friends.
    end of spoilers


    Sorry, I even hate movie trailers, and I don't read the back of books, as they give away far too much.
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  5. #5
    Julie Barnes thespianphryne's Avatar
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    I think after a while a work of fiction comes with the notion of 'reasonable expectation of familiarity'. If I'm in a group of people who are familiar with the genre or medium about which we're speaking I make no particular effort at obscuring details, even though there might be few persons who aren't familiar with the twist.

    But when I know that someone I'm talking to hasn't seen/read the work and might be interested in actually exploring the fictional work I'll try to keep things under wraps, especially if the deep enjoyment of the work is based on the full impact of the twist.

    Also like ATOM HOTEP said, how obscure is the work? If there's someone who doesn't know what happens to Julius Caesar on the steps of the senate, well that's just too bad.


    -Das

  6. #6
    More Donald than Charlie stealthwise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thespianphryne View Post
    Also like ATOM HOTEP said, how obscure is the work? If there's someone who doesn't know what happens to Julius Caesar on the steps of the senate, well that's just too bad.


    -Das
    True, but Caesar's murder isn't a "twist," and it's made obvious from the very beginning of the play how things will turn out for poor Julius.

    I think that the definition of "obscurity" in a work is tricky on a comic book message board. There are new visitors to CBR every single day, and I'm still astounded by the number of people who have yet to read, say, Watchmen. That's why I always like to have people place major details into spoiler tags, or at least label threads accordingly.
    - Art is whatever makes you feel human.

    - "You are what you love, not what loves you." - Donald Kaufman

    - "Deserve's got nothing to do with it." - William Munny

    - "Acquiescence. It's not so hard, really. You. Just. Give. In." - Col. Ives

  7. #7
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    It's OK to spoil something after I've seen it.
    The two most powerful warriors are patience and time - Leo Tolstoy

  8. #8
    More Donald than Charlie stealthwise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cactusmaac View Post
    It's OK to spoil something after I've seen it.
    Gimme those eyes!

    *grabs the ice cream scoop and uses it in unbearably graphic ways*

    How do you like DEM APPLES?
    - Art is whatever makes you feel human.

    - "You are what you love, not what loves you." - Donald Kaufman

    - "Deserve's got nothing to do with it." - William Munny

    - "Acquiescence. It's not so hard, really. You. Just. Give. In." - Col. Ives

  9. #9
    Veteran Member K'Nort's Avatar
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    I think it's only polite to avoid spoilers in actual conversations. But in something more formal and impersonal like an article or essay, it is fine to throw them in when needed.
    Last edited by K'Nort; 08-07-2007 at 02:58 PM.

  10. #10
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    I actually have trouble with this issue - when I'm writing a review, sometimes there's a character you just can't AVOID giving spoilers for. Norman Bates, for instance. I'm always torn about whether I should just go ahead and refer to stuff, or try to keep it secret. How deeply the spoiler is ingrained into popular culture plays a part of it, for sure - would anyone consider Darth Vader's identity a spoiler, or is it just too well known?

    Quote Originally Posted by stealthwise View Post
    Sorry, I even hate movie trailers, and I don't read the back of books, as they give away far too much.
    You and I would get along in this regard, that's for sure - I don't even watch the "next week on _____" things that are at the end of every tv show. Why the hell would I want to know what I'm going to be watching before I watch it?

    Say, for example, Lost. I already watch Lost. I enjoy Lost. I'm going to watch Lost next week not because they show me 30 seconds of it, but because I like watching the show. Is there anyone anywhere ever that has NOT watched a show they like because the previous week's failed to remind them that it would be on? Or taken to a terrible extreme, "this season on ______" which shows love to put after the season debut.

    Even worse? Shows that give it all away in the episode title. If you've got a Doctor Who episode called "The Daleks Do Such-and-Such," then you've got zero leverage when you (invariably) try to tease their introduction.

  11. #11
    Ben L FunkyGreenJerusalem's Avatar
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    I find it odd when mods don't ask for spoilers in the title of a thread when it discusses something that hasn't been collected in trade yet.
    I complained once about an event in Ultimate Spiderman that was spoilt, and was told that it had been out for a while so I should know.
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  12. #12
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    Personally I think you should always give spoiler warnings. No matter how old something is there's always someone who hasn't seen/read it.

  13. #13
    New Member DoctorNemesis's Avatar
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    Depends on the context, I suppose. If I'm in conversation with someone, I'll always at least ask if they've seen the movie / episode before I start discussing it to make sure, but if it's online or something written for a mass audience the line starts to blur. If it was only made available recently I'll try and keep the surprise or put it in tags to protect people, but if it's fairly old, or if it's something where the big twist or the end of the plot is fairly well known, even to people who haven't actually seen the movie (like the aforementioned Norm Bates example)... there's some things that you just can't help but spoil, really.

    I don't mind spoilers, actually. But then, I'm one of those heathens who always reads the back pages of books first before I start.

    Quote Originally Posted by yo go re View Post
    Even worse? Shows that give it all away in the episode title. If you've got a Doctor Who episode called "The Daleks Do Such-and-Such," then you've got zero leverage when you (invariably) try to tease their introduction.
    That was always one of the most laughable parts of old Doctor Who - the way they'd expect us to be astonished - astonished! - by the sudden cliffhanger appearance at of a Dalek half an hour into episode one of a story called... "Invasion / Planet / Destiny / Etc of the Daleks". Difficult to see that little shocker coming. :)

  14. #14
    aw man what dang Joe Rice's Avatar
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    Spoilers don't bother me either way. It's not about what happens, it's about the execution.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member glue's Avatar
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    I don't mind knowing the twist before I see/read something, either. In fact, with movies I usually like to know the ending/twist before hand.

    One thing I hate is people who refuse to "spoil" something for me because they would want to be surprised. By their logic shouldn't I spoil works for them?

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