Wikipedia talk:Spoiler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

WT:Spoiler/old template[edit]

This page is nominated for discussion but not by me. In fact, I'm not allowed to propose a deletion without approval from my mentors. Nevertheless, I fully support "merging" it to main page, WP:SPOILER. Seriously, there are concerns over using this page as this ({{WT:Spoiler/old template}}) and its historical value. Feel free to discuss in WP:MFD. --George Ho (talk) 07:02, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


I propose that for movies and television shows that there should be a basic information summary outlining the plot or episode in question. It is no fun having your show ruined reading the episodes list, when it gives you the whole show wrapped up in a a couple of sentences. If someone wants to create a special page for individual episodes, they are free to do so and there they may provide as much information as they want. This way there is BOTH a shortened summary for people who do not want their shows spoiled and a page for people who want detailed information. We are not removing information from Wikipedia but providing more of it, in a better viewing environment. Hua89 (talk) 03:03, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Most episodes do not have the notability to substantiate a stand-alone article nor should plot summaries be split off of the main article. This is a form of censorship as you are attempting to "hide" the plot summaries. Plot sections are already clearly labeled and so are episode lists (so its your own fault for reading them). And finally, we only need one summary for a television show or film. There is no reason to have two different summaries and would come into conflict with WP:NOT, which states that plot summaries must be concise. I would suggest that we add an explanation of why the spoiler guideline is the way it is similar to what I've drafted. —Farix (t | c) 03:16, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
There are some shows which already have both an episode list, and individual pages for individual episodes. In fact, there are even some which have a master episode list (with no plot summaries), per-season lists (with brief summaries) and per-episode pages (with detailed summaries). In such cases, I would argue (and have argued) that there is room for sensitivity in the brief summaries without compromising encyclopaedic standards - in the brief summary it may be more relevant to the episode's significance to describe the nature of the spoiler than to detail it. For example, the brief summary of a certain episode of the '80s series Dallas might include that "Bobby returns", leaving it to the episode's page to describe how he returns. Obviously, in the case of Dallas, there aren't pages for individual episodes, so the details of Bobby's return can only go in that brief summary. I'm not arguing that episode pages should be created to house spoilers, but that where episode pages already exist, it is a small annoyance to people looking for that detail (and any other details of the plot not found in the brief summary) to have to follow a link from the episode list, and avoids a large annoyance to people who, for example, wish to look up the previous episode and are unaware that the newest episode has aired.
In essence, I'm arguing for spoilers to be included as a specific example of the general principle that the brief summary of an episode which has its own page should be more selective in what to include than that of an episode where the only place for notable information is that summary. Rmsgrey (talk) 15:59, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
that sounds to me to be more of an issue regarding WP:UNDUE that a spoiler issue since it is entirely possible that a event in a episode could be important for the individual episode but but not for the overall work.-- (talk) 02:19, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion these kinds of spoilers are OK: All spoilers on the general article of a certain movie, trilogy, book, tv series etc. and Season X spoilers on the season X page etc. However it is not OK to put spoilers about season X+n on the article of season X. For example, it is OK to write that a character dies in season 3 on the general page of that series (as long as it is written for example under heading "Season 3") and on the season 3 page but NOT on the pages for season 1 and 2. I think this should be clarified in the guidelines. (talk) 23:24, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
I see that as being more of a case relevance than a spoiler issue. The reason being the fact character dies in a future season has nothing to do with particular episodes that predates the death. The death should only be covered regarding the episode that it occured, or possibly a plot summary on the main page for the series (if the death is significant to the overall story). In other words we don' need in a section of a hypothetical episodes summary in a season 1 article with Jake robs the bank (he will later die in the second to last episode of season 5) since it would be irrelevant to the actions in that episode and I doubt that anyone would complain with that removal.-- (talk) 00:12, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

added two new sections[edit]

Based the recent discussions on Talk:Skyfall and other places, I was bold and added two more sections. The first is adding a section explaining more about dealing with different release dates across the globe. The second one is based on the recent article where Skyfall's distributor complained "on a crowd sourced site like Wikipedia, it is difficult to police spoilers after a film has opened." So I want to make it clear that if they were actually thinking about "policing" the spoilers directly on the article, it would be COI editing. Cheers. Zzyzx11 (talk) 03:06, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

The first part should be merged in with "Broadcast delays" with the section retitled. The section section however, is not needed as we already have WP:COI and this guideline already which prohibits the removal of plot details that some consider "spoilers". Besides, the whole idea of "policing spoilers" on the Internet is a lost cause. —Farix (t | c) 12:09, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Extending the guideline for solutions to puzzles, riddles and games[edit]

There is a thread at Wikiproject Mathematics about an editor who has hidden "puzzle spoilers", that is, solutions to logic puzzles in their articles. While it's consensual that the spirit of WP:SPOILER applies, he has a point in saying that the guideline now applies explicitly only to works of fiction. How should we expand it to cover also this case? It requires a bit of rewording of the lede and I'm unsure on how to do it best. --Cyclopiatalk 08:46, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

I've had a go at adding a section covering the matter; please revise as necessary. I don't think we necessarily need to adjust the lead, but if someone else does feel free to propose something. Anomie 13:14, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Addition seems reasonable, and agree it follows from policy that we don't use spoiler warnings/strip answers from stuff like just because it is a spoiler. --MASEM (t) 14:54, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I am not sure about the "it must not necessarily be included" part -it makes sense, but is it needed? I wouldn't like people using it pointily as an excuse to remove information nonetheless. That it has to be compliant with consensus and other policies should be implicit. --Cyclopiatalk 14:57, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Do we have a verdict or is the jury still out? Other languages?[edit]

Hi. I can't figure out whether spoilers are in or out - a real case on not being able to see the trees for the woods. From the project page I read that "However, editors could not reach a consensus about whether the presence of spoiler warnings in articles was an improvement to Wikipedia." So, what is the policy in the meantime? And although each language WP does its own thing, there should be and there are a number of basic pillars. Certainly something like this should be part of the common policies not left to the individual WPs? Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 20:53, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

On we don't use spoiler warnings, and we don't write to avoid spoilers if they are necessary to comprehend the work. It is up to the other language wikis to decide if they want to follow suit - though arguably, you'd expect them to be the same - the same problems for why to avoid spoiler warnings/ignore writing around spoilers in English will exist in all other languages, but we here at have no control on that in other languages. --MASEM (t) 20:58, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Masem. Is there a set of 'guidelines'/ 'rules' as to what ALL languages must abide by and what is at the discretion of EACH language? Thanks and best regards, Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 21:54, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Any Foundation-wide mandates will exist on meta, with all projects (including the various WP languages) expected to follow such. --MASEM (t) 22:59, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Has the possibility been discussed to make the Plot section collapsible like the table of contents? That would be a compromise between having and not having spoiler warnings, because initially it would be collapsed and the reader has to click on it to see the plot. An added advantage would be that the plot often takes up a lot of space, spoiling the overview of the "real encyclopedic data" Geke (talk) 13:39, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
How is what something is about not "real encyclopedic data"? And collapsing is still censoring. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 16:32, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Informed Choice (or Having Your Cake and Eat It Too)[edit]

While the argument that a section titled plot should be expected to include possible spoilers may be proper, it is also contrary to general use on the Internet and subverts the expectation of many readers. It seems to me one need not compromise either: create a template which splits a plot section into "premise" (or "blurb") and "synopsis" (or "details" or "plot"). The premise would be a brief outline of the subject without revealing spoilers, the synopsis delves into detail. Premise might contain unobtrusive green cues and synopsis red ones. This avoids censorship, improves readability and meets general reader expectation.-- (talk) 10:28, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

However, Wikipedia is not intended to be like most other websites. After all, Wikipedia doesn't have spoiler warnings in the first place. The goal of Wikipedia is to give information that is as complete as possible, no matter how offending it may be (well, except for BLPs, we have high standards for their articles, but that's another story). Separating the sections could potentially cause technical problems, but also is a form of censorship in itself, and Wikipedia is not censored. Wikipedia isn't IMDb either. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 11:22, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Reference works (e.g. CliffsNotes) on fiction don't contain spoilers either - David Gerard (talk) 11:37, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
They aren't encyclopedias. An encyclopedia like Wikipedia is all about complete information. For more information on this guideline, read the section "Why spoiler warnings are not used". Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 11:48, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course there is a rationale to the current policy. That doesn't mean it is beyond examination. What I am proposing isn't an attempt at censorship, but an approach to accommodate the various arguments into a coherent model. Dividing plot into premise and synopsis does not pre-empt authorship, but guides it into established expectations. If the opposing argument rests upon proper adherence to the conventions, it follows the same applies to divide plot into premise and synopsis with their assigned function. (talk) 12:55, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Beyond the philosophical arguments, excluding "spoilers" is absurdly complicated. There are numerous topics which cannot be discussed independent of their conclusions. The broad impact of, for instance, the Christian gospels depends, in large part, on the final act. Not thrilled with the example? Fine, how about The Crying Game? Isn't "Nothing happens. Twice." a spoiler for Waiting for Godot? Discuss the plots of Star Wars V and VI without "spoiling" IV? Can't be done. Discuss "Gilligan's Island" without giving away that they don't get off the island in episodes 1, 2, 3, 4... Doesn't Truman Capote "spoil" Capote (film)? How much knowledge of a plot "spoils" it? While there are some plots that hinge on one element for the meaningful ending, more complex stories have numerous elements that exist throughout the story. - SummerPhD (talk) 02:39, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

The fundamental issue is conflicts between conventions of Wikipedia and usage on the Internet in general. Most are barely noted, with "spoilers" an oft discussed exception. The topics you raise fall outside this category, as the scope of a section on discussion and analysis are generally understood. It is mostly in plot, though there are others, in which usage diverges. Plot can be formatted to align conventions, but, you are right, it does not address other conflicts. (talk) 15:09, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. The majority of the Internet is not. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 16:29, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes. The discussion is indeed about the difference. (talk) 17:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

The fundamental assumption of this proposal is that spoiling may be prevented by presenting the information in (sub)sections with titles which mean the same on Wikipedia as elsewhere. While the original proposal was limited to dividing plot into premise and synopsis, the same aproach may limit spoiling for articles as a whole. That said, while an examination of jargon as a solution is an interesting idea to me, I doubt whether articles could be (sub)sectioned unambiguously either in theory or in practice.

While I will not pursue this proposal further, I would like to note the defense of the existing policy on grounds of non-censorship, or unlimited information. As you value freedom of expression, you should value the informed choice of the audience. The proper thing would be a visible but forgetable icon along the top. Perhaps a red jigsaw with an exclamation mark in the Wikipedia globe, linking to the a summery of its policy. (talk) 18:37, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

To readers, the issues of spoilers is the case of "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Once they understand that information at WP is unbridled, they shouldn't go there on works that have been released to try to learn more if they are completely trying to be spoiler free. Too many people come here trying to consider WP as a replacement for Google when it is never our intent. There are tons better sites for most of these works to learn about the topic that are dedicate to those types of works and can avoid spoilers. --MASEM (t) 18:48, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
This page is filled with what this site is and is not, but little explanation as to what the downside is to pointing out the difference to readers who are unaware of it or its implications. (talk) 12:28, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

The issue here is that by quoting this page people seem to justify spoilers all over a page, I will use the House of Cards (U.S. TV series) as example: where are we "serving encyclopedic purpose" by putting major spoilers in a section, the cast one, that is usually as neutral as possible? The encyclpodic purpose of some section should be to give just some basic information, especially if it's marked with an innocent title like "cast". Sunitsa (talk) 18:34, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

I do see your point, of just wanting to look up the cast list and having the show spoilt, and how annoying that is. It's hard to avoid that, given an important function of Wikipedia as an encyclopedia is to be a Cliff's Notes - something that really has to precis for you everything relevant that there is to know about a given work. One way to look at it that may be useful: it's an encyclopedia - a complete compendium of everything - so treat it like it's Hamlet - what would you expect to see in the article if House of Cards was 500 years old? Write it up in those terms - David Gerard (talk) 20:35, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I also dislike when people use the Spoiler guideline to try to justify putting spoilers any and everywhere. Like the guideline states, "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." It can be encyclopedic not to include spoilers just for the sake of including them, especially in the case of works where the brilliance of that work hangs on it not being spoiled; The Sixth Sense immediately comes to my mind in such a case (and its Wikipedia article is currently careful not to spoil the ending, except for in the Plot section and Production section), and some aspects of the The Walking Dead series quickly come to my mind as well in such a case. Time and again, we get readers who complain about Wikipedia having ruined a story for them because of spoilers; often times, these people are not only spoiled by the Plot section, where they should expect spoilers, but needlessly by the lead or a random place in the article. Flyer22 (talk) 20:55, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

The guideline was getting fat[edit]

This happens. I've removed a lot of superfluous baggage from the page. --TS 01:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

+1 - David Gerard (talk) 00:01, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Editorial "courtesy"[edit]

I'm perfectly OK with no spoiler warning, but I do wonder if there's some recommendations to avoid "giving away more information than needed", at least in the opening section. Basically, using "John Fender is a character from McExample who appears as a supporting character introduced in the second season..." instead of "John Fender is a is a character from McExample who is the previously unknown father of Protagonia", "...who appears in seasons two to three and returns in the ninth", or "... who kills Madame Evil in the finale". There are some cases where the spoilers are inevitable in explaining the importance of the character (such as the lead of a movie whose first rule prohibits me from discussing it). On the other hand, discussing John McClane doesn't need a mention of the Gruber brothers unless when discussing their specific films.

Of course, such recommendations are not to be taken with a grain of salt, as there are several "nonstrictly plot-related" sections where spoilers may be necessary (for example, discussing the actors who portray a character, critic commentary, etc.).

Summary: it's OK to include spoilers when discussing fiction, but a bit of consideration should be put into where they're appropriate.

And yeah, I do realize a well-written page implicitly structures itself as this. But a note won't hurt anyone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:53, 9 September 2014 (UTC)