Wikipedia talk:Spoiler

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RfC: Proposal to make unnecessary spoiling clearer in the guideline[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The proposal fails. Apologies for revealing that in the lead. While many participants agree that, in general, the lead of an article is not the place for spoilers, a clear majority disagree with the proposal as stated, and a substantial number do not even agree that there is a solvable problem here. Objections include: that it is unclear what the specific proposal is (for instance, the proponents in the discussion seem to assume it is mainly about the article lead, but the language of the proposal itself doesn't mention that); an inability to determine objectively whether a specific fact is or is not a spoiler; a resistance to increasing the length of regulations; a resistance to using "spoiler" status at all in determining whether or where a detail goes in an article; and that the area is necessarily vague or even specific to each work, so any attempt to legislate it in general will fail. --GRuban (talk) 17:44, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Many editors and readers, including a number on this talk page, have expressed concern that there is much unnecessary spoiling allowed on Wikipedia, and that this guideline is used as justification for spoiling any and everywhere; this is also despite the fact that the guideline currently states, "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." Like McGeddon noted, "it's probably worth clarifying the spoiler guideline to say which kinds of sections include spoilers and which shouldn't, to reflect how articles are generally being written. The article for The Sixth Sense does not give away its twist ending in the lede, or even directly state that there is one, but has no qualms about mentioning the ending in the Production section, since it's useful to the interested reader to share information about how the filmmakers approached it. The Breaking Bad [...] character descriptions [in the] overview cast list treads lightly and doesn't go much further than saying which seasons characters appeared in, while the full List of Breaking Bad characters article goes into great detail about each character's story arc, as this is the kind of thing somebody researching the show would want to know. Clearly there's some informal consensus that when writing articles that it's inappropriate to spoil plot elements in places where they aren't entirely necessary and might surprise the reader ( 'make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served' is perhaps trying to say that), and I think this guideline could do with pinning that down."

I concur with McGeddon, and propose that the "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." wording be changed to the following wording from WP:How to write a plot summary#Spoilers: When summarizing a plot and choosing what details to include, editors should use discretion. The advantages of exhaustive coverage of the work are in dynamic tension with the desire to preserve the artistic qualities of the work for readers.[1] Wikipedia should contain potentially 'spoiling' detail where it substantially enhances the reader's understanding of the work and its impact but be omitted when it merely ruins the experience of the work of fiction for our readers. Or that we just use the second sentence. Or that we change the wording to something else that is clearer than the current guideline's wording, to indicate that it is not okay to spoil for spoiling's sake. A Proposals section is below for those who want to suggest alternative wording. And a Discussion section is below for whatever else. I will alert WP:TV, WP:Film, WP:Manual of Style and WP:Village pump (policy) to this discussion. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:54, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Note: At the time that I made the above post, this is the state of the page I was referring to when I relayed "including a number on this talk page"; but the archives obviously show more complaints than that. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:17, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ This standard parallels the dynamic tension between the policy that Wikipedia is not censored, and the practice of not tolerating sensationalism or offensiveness for its own sake.

Survey[edit]

  • Support proposed wording (specifically the second sentence) or similar wording. I mean, does anyone really think it's a good idea to include the twist ending spoiler in the lead of the The Sixth Sense article, when the entire story hinges on that twist ending? How is that helping anything? Similar goes for this spoiler case at Talk:Kingsman: The Secret Service. A number of editors were clear that it was not necessary in the least to include those two huge spoilers in the lead, and they were subsequently removed. I am all for including spoilers in the lead or elsewhere when needed. But I am against including them in random places, or when they do not significantly enhance the readers' understanding of the topic. As far as I'm concerned, all this "Nana nana boo boo, I'm going to include a spoiler right here because I want to, and there is nothing you can do about it because of the WP:Spoiler guideline." type of editing needs to stop. And I remind editors that it is a guideline, not a policy. And all of our policies and guidelines should be treated with WP:Common sense. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:18, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose These sorts of proposals fall afoul of an inherent belief that people coming to the article have not seen the work in question. That's completely presumptive. We have no way of knowing if a person is coming to that page that way or not. For all we know, they're coming to confirm a plot ending. Afterall, we are an enyclopedia...you know, the place where people come to learn about things? Further, we have no way of knowing if a person cares or not. We should not be in the business of holding people's hands. If someone doesn't want to know the twist of a plot, the end of a movie, the outcome of a penultimate scene, then they shouldn't be reading about it. I personally am not under the assumption that readers of our articles are baldfaced stupid and incapable of understanding that reading an article on a given subject might give them information about how it turns out. Dancing around trying not to offend readers sensibilities when we have no idea of the state in which they come to our articles is flat wrong. What's next, not giving the results out for superbowls in the lede of those articles for fear readers might learn the outcome? Come on. This is an encyclopedia, not a fan guide. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:19, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
    Addendum Something just occurred to me today. I've been watching an episodic series on Netflix. When you look at an episode before playing it, there's a little summary. Recently I've been avoiding reading those, as they seem to give away too much at times. This begs the question; how much information is too much? What do we decide is giving away information and what is not? Why should we care when we're an encyclopedia, not a TV/movie/book/whatever fan guide? I'm glad to see that (at least at this point) this suggested change is failing to achieve consensus. There's just far too much nebulous area here to define what is and is not a spoiler. Even more importantly, there's no justification for an encyclopedia to care about spoilers. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:25, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. There are places where it is stupid to avoid spoilers (like the plot section), and once that place has been encountered in the article, it is fair game to assume the spoiler is in the open. However, before that point, if the concepts presented before where the spoiler must be said can be understood without the spoiler, throwing the spoiler in is not helpful or serving the encyclopedia. The Sixth Sense is a good example. That Willis' character is dead has to be mentioned in the plot, and discussed later as part of the movie's reception and M. Night's establishing "twist". But in the lede, you don't need it to get what the gist of the lede is about; even the abbreviated plot summary, about a man trying to help a boy who claims to see dead people, is sufficient without mentioning the spoiler. To put it another way, we have always stated that because we've labeled a section as "Plot" or "Summary" or "Synopsis" that that is an implicit warning for spoilers, and anything following that header is fair game. But this also implies that what is in the article before that point should be reasonable spoiler free, unless absolutely necessary. --MASEM (t) 19:30, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, but I think the wording needs to be more specific: "merely ruins the experience" is too subjective, and will just be pointed at by people saying "but this ruins the experience" when deleting content from Plot or Reception sections. I think it needs to say something explicit about avoiding unnecessary plot spoilers in introductory summaries (lede sections and across-all-seasons character lists) and tangential contexts (the Bruce Willis article gives a couple of sentences to his appearance in The Sixth Sense, but does not give the ending away) - and that this reflects how such articles are already generally written. --McGeddon (talk) 19:40, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support in principle: Just like anything else, spoilers should only be added to Wikipedia if appropriate, not because 'we don't remove spoilers!!!' Obviously it is logical to add spoilers to the plot summary, and in subsequent sections that discuss the making of or reception to specific moments. But I think it is also obvious that the lead, a condensed, summarised overview, is not the place to be dropping plot complications. In the Kingsman case, a good sentence in the lead would be something like 'A young man begins training with a secret spy agency, who are facing a wealthy megalomaniac.' That is all that is required in the lead, and the argument that Wikipedia doesn't remove spoilers is not a valid reason for adding further plot information there. For The Sixth Sense, the lead mentions twist endings twice, which I think is appropriate coverage considering its importance to the film and its reception, but we don't state what the twist is, because the lead is not the place for that level of plot detail; the summary sentence given accurately establishes the film's premise, which in terms of WP:Real world is far more important for the lead overview than an in-universe reveal at the very end of the film. I am not so certain about the wording you have suggested here, but I do think the section should be clarified, to emphasise that Wikipedia allows spoilers only if they are required, and then perhaps give examples of a plot summary and a production section or something. - adamstom97 (talk) 20:04, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose—Hammersoft hits some salient points, but the simpler answer is that no examples of any harm caused by the current verbiage are presented at all, and the suggested rewrite just gets more mealy-mouthed about the subject. Why add unecessary bloat to the guidelines. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 20:18, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose for now - Proposed wording swings too far toward mollycoddling readers than I am presently comfortable with. Premise: I'm a film/tv student and I need to a comprehensive understanding of a number of films/tv series. I don't have time to watch them all. Shouldn't I expect to find comprehensive coverage of crucial plot detail in an encyclopedia? People don't buy CliffsNotes and get mad they were cheated out of the enjoyment of reading the full book. If you read a book that analyzes MacBeth, do you feel deprived because you didn't get to figure out the thematic puzzle yourself? Above all else, Wikipedia is an educational tool, not an entertainment guide! Academic references should provide as much critical detail as is necessary for someone unfamiliar with the work to walk away with a full understanding of the work, and that might very well include the revelation the Darth is Luke's pappy, or that Character A and Character B were married in the final episode of Show C. This information wouldn't belong in the lead, but you'd absolutely expect to find them in plot summaries and in character descriptions, and yes, they might absolutely impact a person's enjoyment. So what? We've been spoiled about spoilers. It's very possible to know crucial details about a story and still fully enjoy how those details unfold. Ever seen Columbo? Pandering to the occasional reader who winds up at Wikipedia to not get information (which is what the "I didn't expect to see SPOILERS!" argument really is) does not further our goals as an educational tool, and just like common sense is required when enforcing guidelines, common sense is required when coming to Wikipedia to find out about a show that you're not all caught up on. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 21:08, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose How can you identify any plot detail is a "spoiler" without violating Wikipedia's core policies? Nor do I think it is beneficial in any way to arbitrarily restrict plot details to certain sections of an article. —Farix (t | c) 22:10, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose For all the reasons we don't have a spoiler warning already: an encyclopedia article should be complete, there is no test of what does or does not constitute a spoiler that is not utterly subjective - I would like you to detail for me how to determine what is and is not a spoiler in a manner that meets the requirements of WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR - and the proposed test is uselessly subjective. There is no reason to make this guideline wafflier - David Gerard (talk) 22:21, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per David, articles need to describe their topic completely, paying no attention whatsoever to whether some fact might possibly constitute a spoiler for some readers. And the lede should summarize the most important points, which should include "spoilers" if they are an important part of understanding the topic. Paul August 22:39, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Current wording is good enough. We shouldn't be discouraging people from adding encyclopedic content to an encyclopedia or telling them to hide it somewhere else in the article, where it's more difficult to find. Revealing Darth Vader's real name in the first sentence of his article is a spoiler for the first trilogy. However, this is encyclopedic information and should be present. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 22:56, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose If someone doesn't want to know a spoiler, then don't click on the article. We shouldn't have it the other way around. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 08:48, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose the idea to "preserve the artistic qualities of the work for readers". If you do not want full information, use a non-Wikipedia source instead. We should not accept any compromise about the quality of the lede section over spoiler concerns. —Kusma (t·c) 10:12, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
    I also find it difficult to understand the "Kingsman" example. I don't see how knowing or not knowing this makes any essential difference to enjoying the film. If it really makes a huge difference, the film must be pretty bad. —Kusma (t·c) 10:21, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. One of the things I have often used WP for is to find the "first" in a series of novels. I often stumbled upon a later volume of series at a booksale and after reading the first chapter I want to identify where I should start reading. Running across needless spoilers ruins the experience. See my related proposal below. Koala Tea Of Mercy (KTOM's Articulations & Invigilations) 15:48, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Nothing should be included anywhere in any Wikipedia article if it does not "serve an encyclopdic purpose". Facts about that plot that might be spoilers are no different from any other nfact, and should not be treated differently. DES (talk) 23:25, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Note: Rebuttals to above arguments are in the Discussion section. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:23, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In addition to what several editors above have said, particularly Hammersoft, Cyphoidbomb, and David Gerard, I just don't think this is workable. What is and is not a spoiler is inherently subjective. The arguments here in favor seem to be focusing on plot twists and character deaths, but any unexpected plot point could potentially be considered one. For example, if you've somehow managed to avoid knowing anything about It's a Wonderful Life when you sit down to watch it, the part of the movie that is the one thing everyone knows about it, even many who have never seen it, would certainly be unexpected, so it is a spoiler? The lede for Hot Fuzz mentions The film follows two police officers attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths. While it does not mention the solution to the mystery in the lede, that there are mysterious deaths at all doesn't come up until the second act, so is that also a spoiler? If the work is based off of historical events, can anything in it be a spoiler? Just the fictional elements? Does it matter how well known the real events are, or how faithful to real history the work is?
The Darth Vader = Anakin Skywalker example has been mentioned as the kind of spoiler that everyone already knows, so it's not as big a deal. It is difficult for anyone to not be spoiled on that. But the kind of thing that "everyone knows" is also subjective. There are some pretty famous spoilers, but not everyone would agree as to which ones belong on that list. I'm sure that there are some who would say that the Sixth Sense twist is one of those "everyone knows" spoilers.
Overenthusiastic spoiler removal can also lead to worse articles. Look at Hans (Disney), for example. Of the nine sentences in the lede, six are spoilers. Removing them would clearly make the lede worse, and there isn't much to say about the character that wouldn't be a spoiler. Egsan Bacon (talk) 15:47, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree that, most of the time, only the main characters and the conflict are necessary for passing mentions and the lead section of a work, but far too often I see foreshadowing relied on to avoid stating the resolution of a plot. "Jane discovers something odd about John" reads like the back of a DVD case. Our plot summaries shouldn't sound promotional.
More to the point, an encyclopedia should be detailed and concise, and it's not up to us to discriminate against important plot elements because they deal with the conclusion; we're not a film review site. If there's disagreement about whether a certain plot element belongs in the lead, then we reach a consensus. This is what the Manual of Style suggests: "If there is a difference in emphasis between the [lead and the body of the article], editors should seek to resolve the discrepancy." 23W 19:09, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Oppose per DES. Sentences that enhance an article should be kept whether or not they are spoilers. Sentences that degrade an article should be deleted whether or not they are spoilers. This is a collection of knowledge, not a collection of enjoyable knowledge. Connor Behan (talk) 03:48, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia, not a fansite, although some people treat it like one. We shouldn't be concerning ourselves at all about whether or not something may be spoiled for somebody by coming here. Leave that for the fansites. The job here is to create an encyclopaedia. The text that is being proposed here for addition is from an essay, not a guideline or a policy, but even that essay says "By the nature of being an encyclopedia covering works of fiction, Wikipedia contains spoilers. It is traditional for Wikipedia articles on fiction (including featured articles) to summarize the work's plot in the section fairly early on (often immediately following the lead, though in other cases after a background section or list of characters and the actors who play them). Information should not be intentionally omitted from summaries in an effort to avoid "spoilers" within the encyclopedia article. (Spoiler warnings were used early in the project but the consensus of editors was that this practice was unencyclopedic so their use has been discontinued.)" This proposal actually came about only after I opposed removal of content explaining that a character had died.[1] Is it essential for such information to be included? Yes, because death tends to be part of the essential history of an individual, whether they are real or fictional. If you don't believe that, then should we exclude infomation about Jack dying in Titanic, or that Darth Vader (who was Luke Skywalker's father) died in Return of the Jedi? Another one: Should we suppress the fact that Kate Beckett was promoted to captain in Castle?[2] No, because that fact has changed the dynamic in the latest season of the series. If we start expecting editors to consider whether they might spoil something for somebody, then we should stop writing plot summaries altogether, because virtually anything in an episode can be a spoiler for someone. And yes, I have an example of that. I was recently abused by a girl because I revealed that Titanic sank in the movie and that spoiled the movie for her. --AussieLegend () 12:47, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support: Appropriate plot summaries often include spoilers for those unfamiliar with the work. But there is a limit; the lead is usually not the place. Montanabw(talk) 23:19, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, not sure I care much exactly how it's worded. The distinction being drawn is valid and important. We have a small subculture of editors who take glee in pointedly spoiling key plot points right at the start of episode summaries, and otherwise being, well WP:JERKS. There is essentially no way to restrain them, unless multiple editors happen to be around to revert them; if it's just you and a "spoilerizer", they will WP:WIN through tendentiousness and WP:WIKILAWYERing of the fact that there's no policy or guideline restraining from this exact, particular form of jackassery.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:50, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
Note AussieLegend and I disagreed on a recent spoiler case, but that is not the reason I started this discussion. I was already going to start this discussion before making that disputed edit. And I was already anticipating being reverted in that case; I still made the edit, however, for reasons noted, but, also as noted, I left the death information for a different character. This discussion is not really about cases like those, where it's a List of characters article that is mostly about plot and will likely include spoilers, including huge spoilers. It's about the type of cases that have been discussed in this RfC. Jack dying on Titanic is in its appropriate place in the Titanic (1997 film) article; it is not in the lead or in a section that it does not need to be in. This discussion is not about logical places spoilers may be found in. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
I was already going to start this discussion before making that disputed edit. And I was already intending on being reverted in that case; I still made the edit Have you ever read Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point? If you knew you were going to be reverted you shouldn't have made the edit. Instead you should have discussed it on the talk page first. --AussieLegend () 15:21, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Have you ever read WP:Assume good faith? A Wikipedian making an edit and suspecting that he or she might be reverted on it is not disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate a point. And, as discussion on this matter with you has shown, you would not have been open to discussion on it anyway. You just cite "WP:Spoiler" and leave it at that, as though WP:Spoiler is a policy, and without any regard for WP:BURO. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 15:47, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
You didn't say you suspected that you'd be reverted, you said you intended being reverted. There's a big difference there. "I don't like this guideline, so I'm going to make this edit so I get reverted" is right on WP:POINT.
you would not have been open to discussion on it anyway. You just cite "WP:Spoiler" and leave it at that This guideline is clear "It is not acceptable to delete information from an article because you think it spoils the plot." You clearly identified it being a spoiler as the reason for removing it and, if you note, I took it to your talk page so please don't accuse me of not being willing to discuss it, especially when you were quite blunt in your reply. --AussieLegend () 16:08, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
The word intended was a typo, and did not make sense; I changed it to anticipated soon afterward. And in this case, anticipate and suspect mean the same thing to me, which is that "I thought I would likely be reverted." And again, editors make changes while suspecting or anticipating a revert all the time; the WP:Bold, revert, discuss (WP:BRD) essay, which is often treated like a guideline, is based on it. The WP:Bold guideline even essentially subscribes to the same rationale. I do not dislike the spoiler guideline; I dislike how it is misinterpreted and misused. And while we're speaking of differences, there is a big difference between stating "You must follow this guideline because that's the way I interpret it." or "Because the guideline says so and so." and actually being open to discussion regardless of what the guideline states. So WP:BURO, an actual policy, applies in this case. You blindly follow this guideline, like so many others. You first reported me at the WP:TV talk page like a vandal, then needlessly commented on my talk page when the discussion was already at the WP:TV talk page. You warned, demanded, reprimanded, and expected me to blindly follow. That is not being open to discussion in the least. If you don't want to be accused of things, don't accuse me of things. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:30, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
The word intended was a typo Or was it what you really meant. Often the first thing we say is the truth.
You first reported me at the WP:TV talk page like a vandal I mentioned you there because of your apparent intent. After I reverted your removal, you removed it again, stating I know about that guideline; I and others have commented on it at Wikipedia talk:Spoiler, and I will be proposing changes to it soon, preempting the outcome of this discussion, and without making any attempt to discuss the edit.
then needlessly commented on my talk page when the discussion was already at the WP:TV talk page At the time I was commenting on your talk page, you hadn't been to WT:TV. As I indicated at WT:TV, you were apparently commenting there as I was commenting on your talk page.[3] --AussieLegend () 17:41, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
To me, the word intended was not grammatically sound for that sentence. I meant anticipated. But let's say I had made the edit with the intent of being reverted; if that had been the case, that is in line with the widely cited WP:BRD essay and the WP:Bold guideline. Making an edit and expecting to be reverted is normal editing on Wikipedia, which I already noted. I would rather have not been reverted, however. And I did not preempt any outcome of the discussion, since that revert is not tied to this matter (except for the fact that I was thinking that I would not agree to have Lexa's death explicitly mentioned in the lead of her Wikipedia article all because of a strict interpretation or strict enforcement of WP:Spoiler). I already stated above, "This discussion is not really about cases like those, where it's a List of characters article that is mostly about plot and will likely include spoilers, including huge spoilers. It's about the type of cases that have been discussed in this RfC. Jack dying on Titanic is in its appropriate place in the Titanic (1997 film) article; it is not in the lead or in a section that it does not need to be in. This discussion is not about logical places spoilers may be found in." Nowhere in this discussion have I proposed spoilers be removed in cases such as the one you and I reverted each other on. You stated, "Often the first thing we say is the truth." If you want to argue that, I can argue that it's also often the case that the first thing we state is not what we mean; and I can cite it if you want.
WP:TV is on my watchlist; I am a WP:TV and WP:Film editor (among other things). Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:39, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support I think the proposal overall is a good one. Flyer is essentially proposing we replace vague wording with specific wording that defines what we mean by an "encyclopedic purpose" in this context. I don't think the proposed revision is really changing the guideline, just explaining it better so I'm puzzled by some of the opposition to it. Presumably we have the essay to help editors properly apply the guideline, so why not just incorporate that into the guideline itself? While I am in favor of clarifying the guideline I am not in favor of making it more prescriptive i.e. stipulating where spoilers can be and cannot be included etc. While I personally try to avoid putting spoilers in the lead it may not be always possible; for example, the re-introduction of the Moneypenny character is mentioned in the lead at Skyfall and many readers may well consider this a spoiler, but the re-introduction of the character and the casting is an important component of the coverage. Truth is you never know when you're going to need a spoiler, so a prescriptive instruction will run into trouble at some point, but there is room for clarification in regards to how it is currently worded. Betty Logan (talk) 14:07, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose as an attempt to legislate WP:CLUE. Guy (Help!) 01:19, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. The WP:SPOILER guideline is often used as a carte blanche to put any plot point at any position in any TV program related article. And even worse, the guideline is often used to prevent or close any discussion about what can go where. I am also aware that there cannot be a fixed list of what may go into the lead, into the character descriptions, into the plot section, and into the production section, so there will always be long discussions about that. But any change to the guideline that will foster discussion and encourage scrutiny will be for the better. –Dark Cocoa Frosting (talk) 18:22, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

Proposals[edit]

  • I would like to add a sub-proposal that any content spoilers need to include an explicit justification as to their encyclopedic value so that consensus can be established correctly. This could take one of two forms: (A) create some sort of inline cite-type tags like {{spoiler-justification|reason=...}} and {{spoiler-justification|talkpagesection=...}} or (B) create a guideline mandating a never-archived ==Spoilers Justification== section on the talk page. Additionally, even if the above sub-proposal is not adopted I think it would be reasonable to create a template so that a spoiler could also be challenged just like any other content, using a {{citation needed}}-type tag, perhaps something like {{justify spoiler|date=...}}. Koala Tea Of Mercy (KTOM's Articulations & Invigilations) 15:58, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I respectfully disagree with the utility of Koala Tea Of Mercy's proposals for a few reasons. The justification for a spoiler will almost always be "people doing detailed research on a work should know X crucial detail". Shifting the burden onto the person adding the spoiler erroneously pre-supposes that an encyclopedia has an inherent duty to preserve enjoyment of a fictional work. If anything, the person removing the spoiler should be tasked to justify how the information does not serve an academic purpose, and why it should be removed from a project that does not typically censor, and yes, that will be very hard, because people study every facet of fictional works. The {{justify spoiler}} template sub-proposal would only encourage drive-by tagging and force spoiler-adders to jump through the hoop of visiting the talk page to perfunctorily comment "Sigh...people doing detailed research on a work should know X crucial detail". Cyphoidbomb (talk) 19:15, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
    • This is a bad idea. We don't mark spoilers on Wikipedia, for all the reasons already stated at length: there is no neutral, verifiable way to pick something as a markable spoiler that isn't just original research, if something could be cited as being a spoiler that would constitute it being a fact important enough that it did in fact have to go into the article, and we don't have disclaimers. This is functionally a proposal to reintroduce spoiler tags by the back door - David Gerard (talk) 21:04, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Oppose sub-proposal. I strongly do not want to clutter the article with explanations of why we built the article the way we did. If new editors keep showing up and screwing with it then put a <!-- hidden comment --> in the wikitext. Put a *brief* explanation not to screw with it and/or a pointer to the Talk section. Alsee (talk) 19:02, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Proposing something concrete, based on my earlier comments: to replace "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." with "Any short summary of a fictional work or character (such as the lead section of the subject's article or a series character list) should avoid significant plot spoilers, and mentions of a work outside of its own article should only include spoilers if doing so serves an encyclopedic purpose." Some room for subjectivity here (what is "significant", what is "a spoiler" and we've still got "an encyclopedic purpose"), but I think this reflects how articles are already being written in these cases, and is worth writing down if true. --McGeddon (talk) 21:05, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Define "significant", and indeed "spoiler" well enough for this to be a useful change, else it will only serve directly to reintroduce subjectively-added spoiler warnings - David Gerard (talk) 21:43, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
      • If you can point to any articles where existing content would have to be removed under this wording, I'd be interested to see what edge cases we've got. My impression is that we're already operating under the general common sense approach that you don't put the ending of The Sixth Sense in its article's lede, nor in M. Night Shyamalan's biography, you don't explicitly say that a guy died in season 5 when giving a series overview of characters, etc. If I'm wrong about that, fine. But if that's true, let's save people time by reflecting that in the guideline, instead of asking people to trust in WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, WP:ETC and arrive at the same conclusion from first principles after every month-long talk page argument where someone wants to put a big spoiler in the lede "because WP:SPOILER". --McGeddon (talk) 22:09, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
        • Here are about 7,500 articles where it would have to happen in most. Any short summary of a fictional work specifically applies to plot summaries in the ShortSummary field of {{episode list}}, which is used by those articles. --AussieLegend () 13:01, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • I oppose this sub proposal more strongly than the first. We should not move towards requiring explicit justifications for adding any sort of content until it is challenged on a talk page. Spoilers should not become the next BLP with a bunch of special and separate criteria. Spoilers should not be kept of of lead sections because they are spoilers, but because in most cases they are not significant enough to the article as a whole to go into the lead section. Where a plot element that might be a spoileer is significant enough to go into the lead section, it should be there, and no special justification statement should be required. DES (talk) 23:29, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
  • So would it be useful for the spoiler guideline to just point out that "in most cases [spoilers] are not significant enough to the article as a whole to go into the lead section" instead? What are the cases where a spoiler is significant enough that it is justified in the lede? Even the strongest example I can think of - Psycho, whose shower scene was genre-defining and is one of the best-known moments in cinema - coyly avoids giving anything away in its article's lede, and it's listed as a Good Article. --McGeddon (talk) 09:40, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
  • I also oppose these proposals. There is no need to highlight or require justification for all spoilers, we just need to make it more clear that WP:SPOILER can't be used as a sole excuse for including in-universe information. If people are going to ignore the 'encyclopaedic purpose' line then we need to expand it to a paragraph, or even its own section. - adamstom97 (talk) 00:55, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
  • DESiegel (DES), you stated, "Spoilers should not be kept [out] of lead sections because they are spoilers, but because in most cases they are not significant enough to the article as a whole to go into the lead section." But people put spoilers into the lead simply because they are spoilers and then point to the WP:Spoiler guideline as justification for keeping the spoiler there. And even in cases where they did not put the spoiler into the lead lead simply because it's a spoiler, they use the WP:Spoiler guideline as justification for keeping the spoiler there when the spoiler is absolutely not needed in the lead. Like I stated in the Discussion section below, "Whether to include [a] spoiler in a certain area of an article should be made on a case-by-case basis with respect to the guideline being clear that we should not be going around adding spoilers in random places, or in other ways that they do not benefit the reader. Right now, this guideline is used as a license to add spoilers anywhere, and it has proven problematic, with much edit warring and debates ensuing. [...] The spoiler guideline already tries to advise that we should not needlessly include spoilers, but that vague guidance is not getting through to editors, and they use this guideline to enforce a spoiler being anywhere, when including the spoiler should be more of a common sense/case-by-case matter." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:49, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
If something shouldn't be in the lede, for encyclopedic reasons, then it should be removed, it's as simple as that. That, in someone's opinion, it is a "spoiler" is not an encyclopedic reason. And that's all it can be but someone's opinion, the notion of what is or isn't a spoiler being completely subjective and hence POV. Paul August 14:31, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes. If someone is putting a plot point in a place that doesn't benefit the article, then it should be challenged on the grounds that it doesn't benefit the article, not because it's a spoiler. It's just as if someone put production details or critical reception details in such a place. If someone is putting plot points in a place that it doesn't make sense for them to be, and then using the spoiler guideline to defend doing that, the response should be to point out that that's a non sequitur, not to attempt to change the guideline. However, if a plot point being listed somewhere, including the lede, does benefit the article, then of course it should be there. Egsan Bacon (talk) 15:47, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Paul August and Egsan Bacon, the spoiler aspect is where we disagree; this is because it is so easy for editors to place a spoiler into the lead or elsewhere, regardless of the merit of the placement, and defend it because of this guideline. If we look at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens article, we don't see any big spoilers in its lead (which I'm thankful for since I haven't seen the film yet). But what is to stop an editor from adding big spoilers there and defending it as encyclopedic? You two have stated that what is or isn't a spoiler is subjective (and I agree with that to a degree; I state "to a degree" since, in my experience, people usually agree on what is or is not a spoiler, especially on what is a huge spoiler), but people also disagree on what is or is not encyclopedic. The current, vague "encyclopedic purpose" aspect of the guideline is not helping anything. Editors are consistently using this guideline as a weapon to unnecessarily add and retain huge spoilers. If editors are going to add something simply because it's a spoiler, we should be able to remove something because it is an unnecessary spoiler. If I see an unnecessary spoiler in a lead, I am likely to remove it and call it unnecessary spoiling, knowing full well that an editor might revert me while citing this guideline as justification for reverting me. Also, I doubt that The Sixth Sense twist is one of those "everyone knows" spoilers. But either way, because the entire story hinges on that spoiler, I would never be okay with an editor including that spoiler in the lead of that article, and my argument would be focused on the spoiler aspect...with sources to back me up on it. As for the Hans (Disney) article, I don't agree that it needs those spoilers in the lead, and my opinion on that is clear on the article's talk page and with this edit, but I left the spoilers where they were since it's a part of his reception, which is covered lower in the article. A clear-cut encyclopedic purpose is being served by including those spoilers in that lead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:39, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
  • What if the guideline remained the same, save for the addition of: "Please avoid adding major plot/character twists to the lede, where casual readers may not expect to find them." We'd still be in a position of deciding what is or isn't a major plot twist, which will still rankle some of our friends here, but at least this construction addresses a specific irritant without: 1) asserting fallaciously that an encyclopedia has a duty to preserve enjoyment of a fictional work. 2) Without compromising the idea that an encyclopedia should absolutely deliver important facts about a subject, and major plot/character events are important facts. 3) Without irresponsibly shifting the burden to the person adding the content to defend their addition of important facts. I don't know how my proposed wording would have helped in the Kingsman dispute. Like Kusma, I don't see how that content in the lede constitutes a huge plot spoiler. Maybe to someone who's seen the film, it does, but shouldn't it be obvious what is or isn't a spoiler? What's the problem part? Noting that the mentor dies? Wouldn't that be the entire premise of the film? "Mentor dies, guy goes off to avenge his death"? How could you write a lede and not include that information? Seems that if we're going to avoid adding spoilers to the lede, they should be glaringly obvious. "Turns out she's trans!" "Daniel defeats Johnny at the karate tournament!" "Snow White wakes up, leaves the dwarves, and goes off to bang the prince!" Those are obvious spoilers. But echoing David Gerard's query, what's the test for determining a lesser spoiler? Cyphoidbomb (talk) 16:58, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Even this would be giving too much leeway to fundamentally unencylopedic proposals. This is an attempt to make "is it a spoiler?" a consideration, when it shouldn't be at all - David Gerard (talk) 19:04, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Again, I don't think people usually disagree on what is a spoiler. From what I've seen, people are usually in agreement on what is a spoiler. And if they are not, that's what the talk page is for. I disagree with Kusma on the Kingsman case; this is because I would have been upset or annoyed as well to know about that death before watching the film. I don't think the death was anything to expect; it was unpredictable. Thankfully, I'd already seen the film at the time that editors were arguing about that death spoiler being in the lead. While that death spoiler does not make or break the film, it's certain that a good number of people would rather not know about it before watching the film. And given this, and that it is not necessary in the least for the lead, including it in the lead was unnecessary spoiling. I advise editors to read Sock's sound arguments for removing the spoilers in the case of that article. I know he's opted to abstain from this debate so far, but I'm pinging him again since I mentioned him again, and in case he wants to add something to this debate after all. He is one of our finest film editors, and, in my opinion, made the right call in that case. As far as I'm concerned, it's common sense not to include the death of a major character (or any character) in the lead...unless necessary. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:39, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
"Again, I don't think people usually disagree on what is a spoiler." This is a failure to predict what has already happened: editors doing precisely this, and then erring to massive and ridiculous overapplication, was precisely the problem last time around. This is the sort of thing I mean when I say that it seems you don't understand why the guideline is in its present form - David Gerard (talk) 12:02, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
David Gerard, I've been with Wikipedia since 2007 (I know you've been here since 2004), and I'm speaking from experience. So I do not see it as "a failure to predict what has already happened." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
I've been reading encyclopaediae since the 1960s and I've been using the internet since before it was called the internet, and I have to agree with David Gerard. This discussion even proves it. --AussieLegend () 15:31, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
What this discussion proves is that a change to the guideline is needed. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:01, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
No, it demonstrates that some people don't understand what an encyclopaedia is. --AussieLegend () 17:41, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Editors disagreeing with you (and a number of experienced editors in this discussion clearly disagree with you) does not mean that they don't understand what an encyclopedia is. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:39, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Proposal: replace the sentence "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." with "Whether an editor considers a particular detail a 'spoiler' or not is not relevant; the only consideration is whether a given detail serves an encyclopedic purpose." The first sentence in context is clearly intended to place encyclopedic purpose above considerations of whether something is a spoiler - but fans of spoiler warnings in this section are repeatedly misconstruing it as support for spoiler warnings above encyclopedic considerations. I suggest the change to make it absolutely clear that we're here to write an encyclopedia, not a media recommendations guide - David Gerard (talk) 19:10, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Support Whether something is, in someone's opinion a "spoiler", ought to have no bearing on whether or where a given detail is included in an article. Paul August 02:12, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Support. Sounds good–whether an editor thinks something is a spoiler or not should have no influence on how (and whether) to write about that something. —Kusma (t·c) 14:12, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Proposal: Add in something along these lines: "Please be considerate when using spoilers, and take in the principle of least surprise. While Wikipedia does not hide spoilers, spoilers should not be included where they do not aid in understanding the current context of the article or outside a context where one would normally expect a spoiler. This most often will be in lede sections; spoilers from a revelation late in a work are typically not necessary here to understand the major themes of a work as documented by the lede. However, this advice must be metered against effective communication of a topic, which always remains a priority." --MASEM (t) 19:41, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
  • How about something like the following: "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served. Whether an editor considers a particular detail a 'spoiler' or not is not relevant. So-called 'spoilers' should not be included simply because they are considered spoilers; neither should they be excluded simply because they are considered spoilers. Like all content, spoilers should be included when and only when they improve the article by serving an encyclopedic purpose." Perhaps a bit wordy, but it should make the point clear and be a bit less open to misuse in either direction. DES (talk) 20:58, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I think Masem's proposal is the best proposal so far; it's what I'm looking for. And what I'm looking for is a reasonable compromise between those who like or love to spoil, or don't mind spoiling, and those who are more conservative about spoiling. In my opinion, whether or not the content is a spoiler matters, especially in the case of huge spoilers, and I think this guideline should lean in the direction of being more considerate in spoiler cases and note something about the placement of spoilers being a case-by-case matter...open to discussion. As I've stated before, the current guideline leaves no room for discussion, except for the "encyclopedic purpose" aspect that is routinely ignored. I would rather the guideline support that editors be more considerate with information that may be a spoiler and that it urge discussion in such cases where there may be disagreement; this would make it so that editors cannot simply point to WP:Spoiler for retaining a spoiler even when the spoiler is not necessary, and let editors know that certain spoiler cases may require discussion. So to the oppose voters thus far (Hammersoft, David Fuchs/Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs, Cyphoidbomb, Farix, David Gerard, Paul August, NinjaRobotPirate, Lugnuts, DESiegel (DES), Egsan Bacon, 23W, Connor Behan), can you support Masem's wording or something similar to that? Will you support anything that bridges that gap between those who love to spoil, or don't mind spoiling, and those who are more conservative about spoiling? Any proposal of your own? I see David Gerard's and DES's proposals above. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:39, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
    • The attempt is good, but if the present wording is (as we see in this section) misread by spoiler proponents as support for spoilers because they're mentioned at all, this just gives them more to misread. I'm not sure it'll actually help - David Gerard (talk) 11:59, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't see how Masem's wording would give the spoiler proponents (the ones who unnecessarily add spoilers) more of a license to do what they want with spoilers. I only see it as something that would help...significantly. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 15:15, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Hammersoft, I cannot support Masem's proposal as worded above, nor any proposal which makes whether something is or is not a "spoiler" a factor, even a small factor, in whether to include or exclude it from any part of any article. DES (talk) 12:45, 12 March 2016 (UTC) Sorry, meant to ping Flyer22 Reborn, as this is in response to a comment by that user. DES (talk) 15:17, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Concur. You're on Wikipedia. Surprise! There's information here! If someone is dumb enough to read an article hoping not to have the plot spoiled, there's nothing for it. Frankly, I would be very surprised if an article didn't contain the plot and its ending. NO then, NO now, NO future. This will never work. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:09, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I agree, with DES: I can't support "any proposal which makes whether something is or is not a "spoiler" a factor, even a small factor, in whether to include or exclude it from any part of any article." Paul August 15:30, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
      • "... those who like or love to spoil, or don't mind spoiling, and those who are more conservative about spoiling": Talk about loaded. It's good to know who your audience is, but articles about artistic works shouldn't be held to a different standard than articles on more practical things, just because there's emotional intent behind artistic works. Even though I write mostly about media, I still try to adhere to the real-world perspective. We can't determine if a fictional work will provoke a reaction; we can only say that it did. When you're used to taking a disinterested stance, scruples like spoilers rarely come to mind. So to make it an issue of wanting to prevent the reader's enjoyment seems presumptuous. Aside from that, I agree with David and Farix's proposal more. 23W 20:18, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
  • These new proposals are futile attempts to define "encyclopedic purpose". There will always be inclusionists and deletionists who interpret it differently. Arguing about particular spoilers on a case-by-case basis is still the only solution I've heard that works. Connor Behan (talk) 16:48, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
Like I commented in the Discussion section, "Sure, there are readers who come to Wikipedia for spoilers, or to be spoiled. But what about the ones that don't? We are simply supposed to state 'Screw them.'? The vast majority of our readers do not know how Wikipedia works. They don't know that Wikipedia is ready to spoil them at any moment, as is clear by complaints on this talk page and elsewhere on Wikipedia. Expecting them to know that 'Oh, you shouldn't read anything on Wikipedia if you don't want to be spoiled.' is silly. Furthermore, there is no need for Wikipedia to work that way (placing a spoiler anywhere and using this guideline to enforce the placement)." So, no, I cannot support this guideline as is, with its vague "encyclopedic purpose" wording that is routinely ignored.
23W, I stated, "those who like or love to spoil, or don't mind spoiling, and those who are more conservative about spoiling" because those editors exist (including on Wikipedia), and I see some of them in this discussion. That's one of the points in my initial proposal. Anyone adding unnecessary spoilers is likely someone who doesn't mind spoiling and is not taking our readers' feelings into consideration. Some editors here seem to take our readers' feelings into consideration for all kinds of things, except for spoilers. And I disagree with that. There will always be works like The Sixth Sense where it is absolutely unnecessary to spoil the outcome of that work in the lead, or in a section unless the content is serving a valid purpose. Like various others have stated, there is no justification whatsoever for spoiling the twist ending of The Sixth Sense in the lead, and I am asking for the guideline to be considerate in cases like those. Right now, this guideline can be used to enforce unnecessarily including a twist ending, just like it is used to unnecessarily include spoilers in general. I don't buy that "This [making sure that editors are more considerate when adding spoilers, and/or that the guideline clearly allows for a case-by-case basis] will never work." Masem's wording would work. And, really, given Masem's past comments on this talk page about spoilers, which I took as him not minding if people are spoiled, I was surprised to see him support what I am stating here. He was even cited on my talk page by AussieLegend, who seemed to believe that he would oppose my rationale. Masem likely would oppose my rationale for removing a spoiler in that case, and I understand why (I was removing a spoiler from a plot area, after all). But Masem, who is one of the editors here who strongly believes in the inclusion of spoilers, can fully see where I am coming from on this matter; that gives me hope for a reasonable compromise. And I reiterate that I don't mind spoilers either...when they are necessary. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Sure, there are readers who come to Wikipedia for spoilers, or to be spoiled. But what about the ones that don't? Any reader who comes here not expecting to be spoiled really should pick up a decent dictionary and learn what an encyclopaedia is. Then they should go to a library (they can find out what one of those is in the dictionary) and look at one. As I commented above, WP:PLOTSUM says "By the nature of being an encyclopedia covering works of fiction, Wikipedia contains spoilers."
The vast majority of our readers do not know how Wikipedia works But they should know how an encyclopaedia works. --AussieLegend () 15:25, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Not everyone knows what Wikipedia is, and most certainly don't know how it works, as is clear by WP:Newbies day in and day out. That spoilers exist when it comes to works of fiction does not negate the fact that they should not be placed any and everywhere. There is a time and place for spoilers, like all things. The lead is not the place for Jack dying in the film Titanic. The lead is not the place for the twist ending to The Sixth Sense. Masem and McGeddon have been very clear that something being a plot summary does not mean that a huge spoiler must be a part of it. And like McGeddon stated above, "we're already operating under the general common sense approach that you don't put the ending of The Sixth Sense in its article's lede, nor in M. Night Shyamalan's biography, you don't explicitly say that a guy died in season 5 when giving a series overview of characters, etc." If the placement of the spoiler cannot be justified, then it most certainly should not be included where it's placed. And I have many decent dictionaries and encyclopedias that do not spoil. Wikipedia is not like traditional encyclopedias anyway, as we all know. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 15:47, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Not everyone knows what Wikipedia is, and most certainly don't know how it works Deja Vu. I refer you to my post immediately prior to yours, because the same reply applies since you've said the same thing. They may not know how Wikipedia works, but they know it is "the free encyclopedia", especially those using mobile devices, and "By the nature of being an encyclopedia covering works of fiction, Wikipedia contains spoilers". If they want to avoid spoilers, they need to go to a fansite, not an encyclopaedia. If they don't understand that, they should have paid more attention in school when they were learning about fiction and non-fiction. --AussieLegend () 17:41, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
And I refer you to my "15:47, 13 March 2016 (UTC)" post, because it applies to this new comment of yours as well. Having enough respect for readers, or enough common sense, to not needlessly spoil is not treating Wikipedia like a fansite. Believing in the WP:Principle of least astonishment, like the Wikimedia Foundation does when it comes to WP:Offensive material, is just that -- believing in the WP:Principle of least astonishment. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:39, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Clearly, with as many Wikipedians who are gleeful about needlessly spoiling, we need an "Allowance of spoilers does not give special favor to spoilers" type of wording in the guideline, similar to WP:Offensive material stating "'Not censored' does not give special favor to offensive content." And I see suggestions for just that in this section. Whenever someone blindly cites WP:Not censored, I point to WP:Offensive material. Sure, WP:Offensive material is a guideline while WP:Not censored is a policy, but WP:Not censored points to WP:Offensive material for reasons made clear in the WP:Offensive material guideline. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Farix's Proposal
Replace: When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served.
With: When including plot details outside a section that isn't already clearly named to indicate that they contain plot details—plot summary, character descriptions, episode summaries, etc.—editors should make sure that the details support critical commentary or provide background for such. Whether an editor considers a particular detail a 'spoiler' or not should not be relevant to its inclusion or exclusion.
Reason: For starters, we should only have one standard for all plot details, not just those that some consider to be "spoilers". This is to avoid problems with Wikipeida's three core content policies: WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV. Second, this defines what we actually mean by serving an encyclopedic purpose. The existing wording does not describe what the encyclopedic purpose of plot details are. Third, it makes it clear what I and the majority of other editors commenting it the RfC have said that whether a plot detail is a spoiler should not be a consideration. —Farix (t | c) 16:15, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
    • The problem with this one is that the first sentence appears to make spoiler-ness a criterion, even as the second sentence says that it isn't one - David Gerard (talk) 19:11, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
TheFarix, I'm not sure that the majority of other editors commenting in the RfC have said that whether a plot detail is a spoiler should not be a consideration, at least not in the context of "should not be a consideration at all." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Alsee's Proposal
The primary purpose of an encyclopedia is to inform a reader who is seeking information. Concealing important plot elements is incompatible with Wikipedia's encyclopedic purpose. A plot point commonly considered to be a "spoiler" is likely an important element of the work, and as such it likely warrants inclusion in the article. However it also indicates that it is not commonly expected to appear in brief summaries of the work (such as the article lede), nor in locations where there is little purpose for inclusion.
Wikipedia does not use spoiler warnings.
Alsee (talk) 22:39, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Still makes "spoilerness" a consideration - David Gerard (talk) 00:35, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
The stronger any claim of of "spoilerness" the stronger the case of importance and mandate for inclusion. And there seems to be pretty general agreement that something like the 6th Sense twist probably doesn't need to be in the lede. Alsee (talk) 01:22, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Exactly, Alsee. Thank you. That is all that I am asking for when it comes to this matter. No one here is stating that spoilers should be excluded from an article. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
The fact that no one here wants spoilers excluded is arguably a strong reason to open with iron-clad "incompatible with Wikipedia's encyclopedic purpose" language :) Maybe it's my personal style but sometimes I like to draw a hard wall, then in the gray zone I place a soft arrow pointing towards the wall. In this case the wall is exclusion and the gray zone is the infinitely fuzzy question of where and how to include things. Alsee (talk) 18:53, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
    • When including plot details outside a section that isn't already clearly named to indicate that they contain plot details—plot summary, character descriptions, episode summaries, etc. Plot and episode summaries are expected to include plot details. Even character descriptions necessarily contain some plot information. --AussieLegend () 15:39, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Proposal: The following proposal assumes that we are only talking about addressing spoilers in the lede: Since we're having difficulty agreeing on language that addresses everybody's concerns, would it be of any benefit to come up with a few examples of spoilers in the lede that may be appropriate and examples that may be clearly dickish, so that at least there are some rough parameters of what constitutes an "encyclopedic purpose" in the lede? It seems that for inclusion in the lede, context should accompany the inclusion. The surprise ending I've included here, just seems gratuitous: "The story follows Jake, an irresponsible teenager whose parents recently died in a car accident. Suddenly on his own on the mean streets of Toledo, he has to overcome excruciating laziness to become the parent he never had. Jake eventually dies of tailbone cancer." While obviously a shitty movie premise, context is missing to explain the relevance of tailbone cancer. If, however, there was context that explained that tailbone cancer was on the rise in Toledo, (fracking?) and the film was written to raise awareness of the issue, that might serve a more clear encyclopedic purpose. (I just want to stress though, that context should not be necessary in the plot section, because the encyclopedic purpose of a plot section is to explain the plot, which would almost certainly include the tailbone cancer), similar for character sections. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 16:32, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
Cyphoidbomb, by "The following proposal assumes that we are only talking about addressing spoilers," do you mean my proposal? I've been clear that it's not simply about leads. Alsee's proposal also is not solely about the lead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:55, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
And I like your suggestion that we "come up with a few examples of spoilers in the lede that may be appropriate and examples that may be clearly dickish, so that at least there are some rough parameters of what constitutes an 'encyclopedic purpose' in the lede." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:57, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
As for the Plot section, there is agreement that readers should expect spoilers in the Plot section. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:59, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
@Flyer22 Reborn: Re: The following proposal assumes that we are only talking about addressing spoilers in the lede, I'm saying that my newest proposal for providing examples only pertains to the lede. I would expect ample plot details and spoilers to be in the plot section, which, as you note, is what should be expected. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 02:32, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
Okay, Cyphoidbomb. Thanks for clarifying. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:33, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
Cyphoidbomb, when it comes to your "Please avoid adding major plot/character twists to the lede, where casual readers may not expect to find them." suggestion, is there anything else you would add to that? I mean, as others have pointed out, sometimes a spoiler, including a huge spoiler, is beneficial to the lead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:41, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
On a side note: There is no need to ping me to this talk page. And I take it that there is no need to ping you here either. So do you mind me simply responding to you without pinging you? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:43, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

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SMcCandlish, since you often help write our policies and guidelines, weighed in on this matter in the Survey section above, and are good at rejuvenating discussions, do you have any proposal in mind? Any opinion on the current proposals? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 06:03, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Driving toward consensus wording[edit]

Okay, whether we figure out new wording during this RfC or after the RfC, it seems that editors are generally in agreement that the current guideline should be changed since "encyclopedic purpose" is not getting through, and since the guideline is being used by editors to justify adding a spoiler even when unnecessary. Looking at the comments in the Proposals section, we haven't yet fully agreed on the precise wording. But we all seem to be in agreement on the case-by-case basis aspect, correct? So maybe we should focus proposing wording for that aspect first, or for now? I said in the Discussion section, "I would rather the guideline support that editors be more considerate with information that may be a spoiler and that it urge discussion in such cases where there may be disagreement; this would make it so that editors cannot simply point to WP:Spoiler for retaining a spoiler even when the spoiler is not necessary, and let editors know that certain spoiler cases may require discussion." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

I disagree with the characterization that "editors are generally in agreement that the current guideline should be changed since "encyclopedic purpose" is not getting through, and since the guideline is being used by editors to justify adding a spoiler even when unnecessary." Paul August 15:44, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Looking at the entirety of this discussion (the Survey section, the Proposals section and the Discussion section), you think that editors are generally or mostly in agreement that the guideline should stay the same? I don't. A number of editors, including oppose voters, have agreed or indicated that the "encyclopedic purpose" part of the guideline is not enough and that the current guideline is being misused by editors who enforce the inclusion of spoilers where they are not needed. I do not see any agreement, or general agreement, that the current guideline is satisfactory. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:01, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
"Encyclopedic purpose" doesn't seem to get through anywhere on Wikipedia, even in this discussion. That some people seem unaware of the purpose and makeup of an encyclopaedia doesn't mean we need to change things. We just need to educate people, since the school system doesn't seem to be doing it. The one thing that I originally did agree with was that "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served" needed to be changed, or removed, but I'm not so sure now, having read this discussion in toto. I'm now of the opinion that when a Wikipedia page opens, We need some sort of bright red, flashing notice that says "THIS IS AN ENCYCLOPAEDIA, NOT A FANSITE", preferably with an accompanying klaxon. --AussieLegend () 15:52, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
There is no consensus that the changes you wish to make are good ideas or even in the direction of good ideas - David Gerard (talk) 17:36, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
Agree with David. There's no mandate voiced here. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:27, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
And nowhere did I state that there "is consensus that the changes [I] wish to make are good ideas or even in the direction of good ideas." I was very clear that there is no agreement in the least that the current state of the guideline is fine as it is. And I based that on what is clearly stated in the Survey, Proposals and Discussion sections. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:39, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
  • First choice: leave the wording as-is, despite persistent misunderstandings by those determined to misread clear intent. Second choice: my suggested stronger wording above - David Gerard (talk) 21:28, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I'm seeing a bit too much bullying here, let's focus on content and not the nature of other people commenting. There is a legitimate issue here, and the current wording would benefit from changes. Montanabw(talk) 23:23, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

David Fuchs (Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs), you stated, "no examples of any harm caused by the current verbiage are presented at all." Is the aforementioned Kingsman: The Secret Service case not example enough? Two huge spoilers were included in the lead of that article, and various editors (including registered newbie editors, registered experienced editors, and IPs) protested it. Despite the protests that the two huge spoilers being in the lead was unnecessary spoiling and was resulting in much edit warring, the WP:Spoiler guideline was being used as justification for retaining those two huge spoilers in the lead. This type of thing happens all the time on Wikipedia, where editors use this guideline to spoil any and everywhere, even in places where it makes no sense to spoil; I've repeatedly seen this as detrimental to our readers and editors. They've spoken out about it enough. A person knowing of a spoiler is not the issue (except for when that person adds content simply because they want everyone else to know the spoiler too). The issue is people who don't know of the spoiler and would rather not be unnecessarily spoiled. If they read the Plot section, being spoiled is their faults. If they read a spoiler in a spot where it logically shouldn't be or doesn't help their understanding of the topic, it's our faults. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:42, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Also, I don't think this guideline applies much to spoiling real-life events like a football game's score results (although it does comment on it). Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:48, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

I am not talking about real-life events or the other real-life material mentioned in the guideline; I doubt WP:Spoiler issues commonly arise in those cases anyway. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:05, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

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Cyphoidbomb, the proposed wording is not suggesting that spoilers should not be in the Plot section, or in the Production section (or similar) where necessary; it's suggesting that spoilers should not be included where they are not needed and/or do not significantly enhance a reader's understanding of the topic. So why are you opposing the suggestion? As seen above, there are editors who don't support the exact wording in green, but they support the fact that we shouldn't be unnecessarily spoiling. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:17, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Hi Flyer, the twist of Sixth Sense, to me, would absolutely be information that significantly enhances a reader's understanding of the film. One person's "substantial enhancement of the reader's understanding of the work" is another person's spoiler, it's unclear how to differentiate between the two, and I still don't understand yet why it is the goal of an encyclopedia to "preserve the artistic qualities of the work for readers." Cyphoidbomb (talk) 22:33, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I would agree that the twist is essential reading to fully understand the article on the Sixth Sense. No question on that, it is what made M. Night famous and put the film on the cultural map. That said, in considering the "elevator pitch" (aka the lede) about the film, that twist is far less essential. I can distill all the key parts of the article without mentioning it while still putting the film in context of the cultural map, in particular, noting that this film was well received, that it put M. Night on the map. There is no need to introduce the twist to give the lede of this film, but it is required for full understanding of the film. --MASEM (t) 22:39, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree that the lede would not be a good place for this content. And if we want to rewrite the spoiler guideline so that it's clear "don't put the surprise twist from the Sixth Sense in the lede, you dingus!" then we can all discuss that, but that's not what is being proposed. And still, there is the matter of spoiling Darth Vader's name in the lede of his article, as NinjaRobotPirate pointed out. How do we decide which spoilers belongs in the lede? Cyphoidbomb (talk) 23:06, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Simple, we don't. We shouldn't consider whether a plot detail is a "spoiler" when writing about it in article. Especially considering what plot details are "spoilers" is completely arbitrary to begin with. —Farix (t | c) 23:11, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I really think common sense comes into play. First, we recognize that there is a difference on writing articles on a film/TV show/etc., a character, and other articles (eg such as actors); the structure of these articles are very different that one set of placement advise for spoilers doesn't work across the board. Then we think about the principle of least surprise. If I'm going to a film article, I would anticipate that a spoiler would be introduced where it is fundamentally important - the plot at minimum - but no sooner. If I go to a character article, that same spoiler may be essential to understanding the character (eg Darth Vader is former Jedi Anakin and father of Luke + Leia) and must be in the lede; I don't have the same expectations to hide a critical spoiler like I would for a film article. For an actor, it might not be necessary to spoiler anything at all (eg James Earl Jones doesn't void anything related to Anakin), and only if its necessary to explain the role would a spoiler be necessary (for example, that Sean Connery appeared as King Richard in a last act, previously unannounced cameo for Prince of Thieves, so we'd have to reveal that in Connery's filmography.) I really think there is common sense logic here alongside the principle of least surprise that works to distinguish where to withhold spoilers in some parts of an article, and it starts with recognizing that "one size fits all" doesn't work. --MASEM (t) 23:23, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
To add, the common sense approach is a case-by-case thing. Back to Vader, that Vader is Anakin is clearly a spoiler for the first six (I-VI) films. But it is an essential spoiler to set up what episodes I through III are about since those are about Anakin's transformation to Vader, so mention in the lede is essential. In IV, this has almost no bearing on the plot, and far from essential, so omission makes sense. It is revealed at the end of V and how that film resolves, but not essential to the broader plot, so omission makes sense. VI is the hardest of the set, since it is possible to discuss the film briefly without mentioning this, but a major theme is the tension Luke has knowing Vader's true history; this would be a case to defer to consensus, but SPOILER should definitely not prohibit the inclusion of this spoiler in the lead. --MASEM (t) 23:29, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Masem. That twist (the one to The Sixth Sense) does not belong in the lead in the least. It would be completely unnecessarily spoiling readers. And those who would argue to include it are those who likely do not care about being spoiled themselves, or get a kick out of spoiling others. It's not about "One person's 'substantial enhancement of the reader's understanding of the work' is another person's spoiler." It's about the fact that many people would consider such material a huge spoiler. It's a certainty that the vast majority of people do not want to be spoiled on The Sixth Sense when it comes to that huge spoiler, and there are WP:Reliable sources that have stated as much. Even in the case of Million Dollar Baby, enough publications respected readers enough not to spoil. Wikipedia is the only place that says, "I'm going to spoil you, for no reason at all, really, and you just have to suck it up."
As for NinjaRobotPirate, Paul August, and others commenting similarly, I think they are missing the point, which is that it's not okay to needlessly spoil, and especially in places where it's not logical to do so, and that the current wording is so vague with regard to "encyclopedic purpose" that most editors ignore it and force unnecessary spoiling in our articles. Most people know what needlessly spoiling means, and the current wording in the guideline is not helping to keep such unnecessary spoiling at bay. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:20, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
And if we "shouldn't consider whether a plot detail is a 'spoiler' when writing about it in [the] article," then the guideline would not currently state, "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:23, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
On a side note: That Vader is Anakin is well-known. It is difficult for anyone to not be spoiled on that. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:01, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

I would like the proposer to detail for us how to determine what is and is not a spoiler in a manner that meets the requirements of WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR - David Gerard (talk) 22:25, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Farix and David Gerard, if that's the case, then why does the guideline currently state, "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served."? Why should we keep that vague piece of material instead of being explicitly clear about what is or is not an "encyclopedic purpose" or appropriate? You honestly think it is fine to include a spoiler any and everywhere in a Wikipedia article and then use this guideline to dictate such nonsense? I ask because that is exactly how this guideline is used, especially by the editors who gleefully like to spoil others. People are not idiots; while some people differ on what they consider a spoiler, most people know what huge spoilers are. Enough editors certainly have enough sense to know that the twist ending spoiler for The Sixth Sense does not belong in the lead of that article. Adamstom.97 had it right when he stated above, "Just like anything else, spoilers should only be added to Wikipedia if appropriate, not because 'we don't remove spoilers!!!'" Just like you don't like people dictating where spoilers should go, many of us who think spoilers belong in more logical places and not in places where they are not needed and do not serve an encyclopedic purpose whatsoever should not be dictated by misuse of this guideline. WP:NPOV and WP:NOR are two of the most misused policies ever, and do not apply here. WP:NPOV is about giving appropriate weight; it is not, as a number of editors mistakenly believe, about what being neutral means in common discourse. And WP:NOR is about whether a source exists for any statement; it is not, as a number of editors mistakenly believe, about something simply being unsourced. And in the case of The Sixth Sense, many reliable publications call that twist ending a spoiler. In the case of most huge spoilers on Wikipedia, there is a reliable source calling the spoiler a spoiler. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:20, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Trouble is, if it being a spoiler is famous, that makes it an encyclopedic detail that must be covered for a complete article. In the lede, in fact, because the lede is supposed to serve as a standalone summary of the article. So you're making a case for putting a spoiler in the lede.
In almost no cases where people might want to put a spoiler warning - say, the tens of thousands of instances of the {{spoiler}} template before it was abolished - were there WP:RSes as to a given spoiler being a spoiler.
So, given that, you are failing to answer the question: how will you determine something is a spoiler, in a manner that is neutral, verifiable and not merely original research? We discovered once that "common sense" doesn't work for this in practice. What new criterion are you putting forward? - David Gerard (talk) 23:49, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
David Gerard, we have to agree to disagree then. Because I do not think that the fact that a twist ending blew people's minds means that the twist ending should be explicitly revealed in the lead, especially when the enjoyment of the story, for the vast majority of people, hinges on that twist ending. Watching The Sixth Sense after knowing the twist ending defeats the purpose of the film, really; critics have been clear about that. It is not the same as watching it without knowing about it. No one here is arguing for a spoiler warning. And what is or is not a spoiler should be based on what reliable sources state, and whether to include that spoiler in a certain area of an article should be made on a case-by-case basis with respect to the guideline being clear that we should not be going around adding spoilers in random places, or in other ways that they do not benefit the reader. Right now, this guideline is used as a license to add spoilers anywhere, and it has proven problematic, with much edit warring and debates ensuing. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:01, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
And, as was noted, the twist ending aspect is mentioned in the lead of that article (The Sixth Sense), but not in a way that gives away what that twist is. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:17, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
"I see dead people" is well-known and has been lampooned and memed to death. We aren't here to decide by committee what is or isn't a well-known plot point to spoil. "Encyclopedic purpose", while perhaps general, suggests strongly to me that pivotal detail must be included and not tippy-toed around, which the proposed language seems to lean more toward. Knowing that Spock dies in Wrath of Khan serves a significant encyclopedic purpose to someone who is researching the franchise, or the impact of the series on fans, or the general mythology of the Star Trek universe. It also explains why in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock they go searching for Spock. This isn't trivial detail. In contrast, knowing that Spock nerve-pinches a punk rocker on the bus in Star Trek IV might be considered a spoiler that serves no encyclopedic purpose, because it doesn't enhance your understanding of the story, and only takes away from your enjoyment of seeing 23rd century fish out of water interacting with 20th century San Franciscans. Those are significant differences. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 02:28, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
"I see dead people" being well-known isn't the same thing as people knowing the huge spoiler that the film rests on. Many people still have not seen that film, and various critics agree that it's a film that people should not be spoiled on, just like various critics agree that people should not be spoiled on the Million Dollar Baby matter. I even cringed when Masem noted (above in the Survey section) the exact details of the plot twist for The Sixth Sense. That the plot twist for The Sixth Sense is so important, that it's crucial that people not know it before watching the film for the first time, is even discussed in screenwriting books...like this one. Just about everyone and his daddy knows that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker and that he is Luke Skywalker's father. Unlike "I see dead people," the "Luke, I am your father" (really, just "No, I am your father") quote is a humongous spoiler; it's also a quote that is certainly more well-known than the "I see dead people" quote. My youngest sister had never seen the Star Wars films until she watched them for a film class (before finally focusing on being a veterinarian), but even she had heard of that quote and knew that Darth Vader is Luke's father. We can't do anything about cases like that, where people know the spoilers almost from the time they exit the womb. But we can do something about cases like The Sixth Sense, the aforementioned Kingsman: The Secret Service case, and similar. That same sister would have killed me had she been spoiled on The Sixth Sense. No one is asking that we remove spoilers that should be there, or that we remove spoilers from the article completely. We are only asking that they be placed where they are more logical, and especially only where necessary. And I don't understand the objection to that. I believe in WP:Principle of least astonishment. And as seen at WP:Offensive material, so does the Wikimedia Foundation. The spoiler guideline already tries to advise that we should not needlessly include spoilers, but that vague guidance is not getting through to editors, and they use this guideline to enforce a spoiler being anywhere, when including the spoiler should be more of a common sense/case-by-case matter. And I cannot support that type of reckless editing. Respecting readers enough to not needlessly spoil is not coddling readers; it's simply respecting them enough. I think we should be thinking about our readers more than ourselves when writing articles. And they have spoken when it comes to needlessly spoiling, especially with regard to the detail we put in our leads. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 04:53, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Note: I cut in between Adamstom.97's reply here; we were typing at about the same time, and I took longer. I meant my reply to be for Cyphoidbomb. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:06, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
If the objective of this RFC is "We are only asking that [spoilers] be placed where they are more logical", that's entirely unclear in your proposal. The first paragraph of your proposal seems to lean toward, "yo man, let's try to keep the spoilers out of the lede", which I think most people would respond to as, "Okay, well, maybe--if there's a good reason to keep them out." The second paragraph re-raises the issue of whether an "encyclopedic purpose" is being served, which is of course subjective and goal-specific as I've previously argued. The proposal then introduces language that seems to dissuade the introduction of spoilers, even though that's contrary to established consensus, and reeks of a begging-the-question logical fallacy because it includes as an unsubstantiated fact that the goal of an encyclopedia is to present content "with the desire to preserve the artistic qualities of the work for readers". This is entirely unsubstantiated and is in conflict with the existing attitude "It is not acceptable to delete information from an article because you think it spoils the plot. Such concerns must not interfere with neutral point of view, encyclopedic tone, completeness, or any other element of article quality". I further worry that the proposed language needlessly shifts the burden to the spoiler-includer to prove to your satisfaction that the content doesn't "merely ruin the experience of the work of fiction for our readers" when the standard before was "It is not acceptable to delete information from an article because you think it spoils the plot." That's a huge shift, and not one that should be buried inadvertently under "We are only asking that [spoilers] be placed where they are more logical". Cyphoidbomb (talk) 06:34, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
How is my proposal not clear that my objective is that "[spoilers] be placed where they are more logical", when I clearly stated in my proposal that "many editors and readers, including a number on this talk page, have expressed concern that there is much unnecessary spoiling allowed on Wikipedia, [...] despite the ['make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served' part]"? How is my aforementioned objective not clear when I specifically quoted McGeddon noting what makes sense when it comes to where to place a spoiler? The lead matter is an example only. And it is a primary example, because it is spoilers in the lead that editors have more of an issue with. And that issue is valid, since 99.9% of the time, spoilers are not needed in the lead, especially not huge spoilers that ruin an entire film for our readers. How is my aforementioned objective not clear when, after the suggested wording, I stated, "Or that we change the wording to something else that is clearer than the current guideline's wording, to indicate that it is not okay to spoil for spoiling's sake."? You are still focusing on the language in green when even I was clear that I am not tied to the proposed wording, and even when editors support what I mean but not the exact wording. I even included a Proposals section for alternative wording. That stated, I don't see anything wrong with the "Wikipedia should contain potentially 'spoiling' detail where it substantially enhances the reader's understanding of the work and its impact but be omitted when it merely ruins the experience of the work of fiction for our readers." part. To me, that is true to the "encyclopedic purpose" aspect. Those who expect our readers, the ones who come to Wikipedia to read a brief description of work, to just suck it up if they are needlessly spoiled are not thinking about our readers; they are thinking about themselves. Sure, there are readers who come to Wikipedia for spoilers, or to be spoiled. But what about the ones that don't? We are simply supposed to state "Screw them."? The vast majority of our readers do not know how Wikipedia works. They don't know that Wikipedia is ready to spoil them at any moment, as is clear by complaints on this talk page and elsewhere on Wikipedia. Expecting them to know that "Oh, you shouldn't read anything on Wikipedia if you don't want to be spoiled." is silly. Furthermore, there is no need for Wikipedia to work that way (placing a spoiler anywhere and using this guideline to enforce the placement). Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:28, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
@Flyer22 Reborn: The problem with your argument here, is that you don't want to unnecessarily spoil anyone, which is admirable, but not an appropriate stance here. Editors should do what is best for each article—if that means spoiling the film or show, than that's what they should do, and this guideline basically exists to stop newbies and IPs from removing that essential content because they don't want people to be spoiled. The issue that I take here is that instead of doing what is best for the article and using WP:SPOILER to keep it that way, some editors are doing the opposite of what is best for the article and using WP:SPOILER to keep it that way. This is the issue with your Kingsman example, as I tried to explain above: the lead just shouldn't have that level of plot detail, but editors were using WP:SPOILER as an excuse to keep it in that poor form. Yes, it isn't great that such major spoilers were in the lead, but that can't be the point, not here.
So, I am in support of adjusting the wording here to put more emphasis on the fact that there must be a good, encylopaedic reason for including the information as well: Information can't be removed solely because it is a spoiler, but it also should not be added with the same reasoning. I just don't think the single line "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served" is enough weight for the idea. - adamstom97 (talk) 04:42, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Adamstom.97, I don't think we can avoid unnecessarily spoiling everyone; so I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing against unnecessary spoiling. And you and I seem to be in agreement on what is unnecessary spoiling. While some editors will disagree on what is unnecessary spoiling, that is what the talk page is for. That is why we have case-by-case matters for a number of our guidelines. And WP:Spoiler is a guideline, for goodness' sake, but most editors treat it like a policy. The current guideline does not truly allow for case-by-case matters. When a spoiler is included in a place that a number of editors disagree with, very experienced editors simply point to the WP:Spoiler guideline to stop such objections and feel that that's; this is what we saw in the Kingsman: The Secret Service case. It took two significantly experienced editors doing something about the unnecessary spoiling in that case: Sock and I. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:06, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
We cannot "agree to disagree" on WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:OR, and you appear, for all your words, to not understand the reasons for the present guideline, nor that talk page participants cannot agree amongst themselves to invalidate WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:OR in a particular circumstance - David Gerard (talk) 08:46, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
I already addressed your WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:OR arguments above; I was very clear about how WP:NPOV and WP:OR are actually supposed to be applied. And that, among other things, is why I stated "agree to disagree." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:57, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
And as for "reasons for the present guideline," I understand completely why it was created; the history of why it was created is even still in the guideline. And my knowing the reasons for why it exists does not take away from the fact that it has been misused for years. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 08:02, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Totally disagree and in fact I would make the provision that we give the entire rule much stronger. Our purpose is not to serve as an substitute for a work, but to describe the work. Our purpose is not to serve as an advertisement for the work, a teaser to lead the reader into buying or viewing the complete work, but to describe it. Our goal is to tell the general reader what they might want to know,and primary among this is how the story comes out. We don't write articles about parts of events, of the first half of someone's career. We're an encyclopedia , providing information about subjects. If we were a movie guide, we'd probably avoid spoilers, since that is the style there, and the act as a kind of advertisement. Are we going to describe a past election, and say at the end, to find who won, get a copy of the local newspaper?
Generally we should put the ending into the lede . We put the key parts of the subject into a lede. How a work ends is a key part. To the extent that for some it might be the principal part, that is all the more reason for including it. Possibly, as a matter of style, for some types of fictional works (such as mystery stories) we might want to delay it a little, but it should always be in the article. I can think of some mysteries where the point of the books is not in fact the details of the ending, but the atmosphere. I can think of works that end ambiguous, and the solution is only disclosed in a follow-up work, and therefore need not necessarily be said in the article on the first work. I can think of works where the conclusion is so complicated that actually specifying it would burden the lede paragraph. There will be similar exceptions, so we can't really say it should always be in the lede. But very article we have on those works of fiction that have a definite plot and ending should specify it. If it is natural to include it in the lede , we should. How much detail we include is variable. But the idea of writing an article on a work without disclosing the ending is not encyclopedic.
In a sense it's true that "there must be a good encyclopedic purpose for disclosing the information. The good encyclopedic purpose is that we're an encyclopedia . I can not imagine any situation whatsoever consonant with our fundamental purpose here for ever omitting it, except if it cannot be determined. The values of avoiding sensationalism do not extent to fiction. To the extent fiction is sensational, its an intrinsic part of the fiction. DGG ( talk ) 04:46, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
We only include plot summaries in articles to give context to the WP:Real world facts in the rest of the article, meaning that the plot summary itself shouldn't be that important in the grand scheme of an article. In summarising the article in the lead, yes the plot should be mentioned because it is still part of the article, but the majority of the lead should focus on the production, reception, etc. So no, the ending of a plot should not be included in the lead. Mentioning that the ending was received in a certain way, as The Sixth Sense twist ending is noted as being praised by critics, is fine since that is part of the reception, but mentions of the actual plot in the lead should be kept to a bare premise at most.
For instance, in the lead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it simply states "In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon join forces to uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier." This gives the main characters and premise, without giving away the two major twists of the film, as that would be ridiculously trivial and in-universey for the lead; the majority of the lead instead focuses on the cast and crew, the production, the release, and the reception of the film, which are all far more important and are due more weight than the plot summary. Obviously you would give away the ending of an election, which is a real world event. Likewise, it would be ridiculous if the lead of Boston Marathon bombing didn't tell you who did it. But when dealing with fiction the rules are different, and we must be careful to follow WP:INUNIVERSE and not treat fictional events as if they actually happened. - adamstom97 (talk) 07:34, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
"Generally we should put the ending into the lede." Actually, we rarely put the ending for a work in the lede (spoiler or not), but instead just enough to set up the setting, characters, and major conflicts. (This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but more just observation). If an overall theme of the film is a spoiler (eg, as with Star Wars Ep I-III that Anakin becomes Darth Vader), then it has to be included, but most times, the spoiler is a last act reveal (Willis' character is dead in the 6th Sense) that doesn't impact understanding of the broad themes of the work. --MASEM (t) 15:42, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
(I originally posted most of this comment in the Survey section. Whoops. Now I've moved it.) I think the Sixth Sense spoiler should not be part of the lead because it's not really part of the film's premise, and therefore inappropriate. On the other hand, take Terminator 2; it was supposed to be a surprise that Arnie's character was the good guy, but it's such an intrinsic part of the film's basic premise that mentioning it in the lead is totally appropriate, even if that technically constitutes a spoiler for people who know nothing about the story and have only seen the original Terminator. (The fact that nowadays everyone knows this about T2 is irrelevant.) I agree it also seems dangerous to suppose what is and is not common knowledge about a story, ie what constitutes a spoiler and what doesn't.
Basically I'm with Masem. Popcornduff (talk) 15:29, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
If you apply this only to the lede, it can be a reasonable compromise. If you omit plot endings from the article, it detracts from the encyclopedia to the extent of invalidating the basic principle of NOT CENSORED. Which of the two is the active proposal here? DGG ( talk ) 21:30, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
DGG, so far, the discussion has mostly focused on spoilers unnecessarily being in the lead. No one is suggesting that we omit plot endings from articles. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:17, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Another view towards this. In the present language of SPOILER, there is nothing stopping anyone from adding "Willis' character is dead" to any article talking about the "The Sixth Sense", which would include the film's page (including the lede), M. Night's page, and Bruce Willis' page. And if there is an editor being persistent to keeping that can defend it being kept by the language of this guideline presently (that we don't hide spoilers). The point though is that that bit of information really doesn't matter in all those locations. You don't need to know that from Willis' page, for example, and from the lede of the film, it's not really needed. The language to be added should be to simply avoid splattering spoiler information anywhere where it may be relevant just because we don't hide spoilers, but instead use reasonable judgement where the spoiler information is pertinent and obviously can't be avoided, compared to where the inclusion is trivial. Whatever suggestion should not be about trying to prevent spoiler inclusion, as many others have expressed concern about, but just recognizing where inclusion of spoilerish information is not essential to a specific topic or a section of a topic. (And I'll stress again, once an article introduces a spoiler, that spoiler must be considered fair game for the rest of the article: so in a film article, anything below the Plot section should be considered fair game for inclusion of the spoiler). --MASEM (t) 00:48, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I must apologize for not being sufficiently perceptive to realize the actual matter under discussion. Whether it belongs in the lede is indeed a matter of judgment. Applying the general rule that the lede should indicate the main points of the article, then if the ending is the point of the film or other fiction, it should be mentioned concisely. If it is rather inconsequential or diffuse or obvious from the nature of the genre, then it need not. This however leads to the paradoxical result that (to take the genre that seems to be used here as an example) if it is a mystery where the interest is in who did the crime, or, whether the known criminal will be punished, then it's the key point and must be mentioned in the lede. (Note this is not really true of all mysteries: there are some --the ones that occur to me immediately are Dorothy Sayers' books [[Gaudy Night] and [Busman's Honeymoon]]-- where the point is the romantic and psychological relationships of the two principle characters, and the actual crime is just a device, and trying to mention it in the lede would seem just to complicate what should be a short paragraph/ (I see for the actual article for Gaudy Night that the lede doesn't indicate the point at all. ", Harriet eventually asks her old friend Wimsey to investigate.." is exactly the kind of summary that does not belong anywhere in an encyclopedia . DGG ( talk ) 02:19, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
There are definitely cases where a spoiler belongs in the lede: the best example being that it is inappropriate to not mention that Anakin becomes Darth Vader for describing Star Wars Episodes I through III. So we should not be trying to eliminate any spoilers in the lede, just be aware of spoilers that are necessary towards the theme or importance of the work, and spoilers that just result from the plot progression and are not as critical. (And that consensus should still decide where that balance is needed.) An interesting case, for example, is how The Mousetrap is handled, in that yes, the fact there is a twist ending is in the lead, and up through to the plot, that twist is not revealed though clearly noted, only until the plot is it actually spelled out. --MASEM (t) 02:26, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Masem, all of what you've been stating on this matter is what I've been stating as well (though obviously not in those exact words), and I cannot thank you enough for your wise and respectful attitude on this issue. I told you before that I always appreciate what you have to state (whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with me), and I mean that.
DGG, it's understandable that what is meant by this discussion can get lost on a person. But, yeah, with my initial post for the RfC above, I was clear that I was only referring to adding spoilers where they are not needed and when they unnecessarily spoil. You know, like the much mentioned The Sixth Sense case. Like Masem, I have noted that a person can add that twist ending to the lead of that article and use this guideline to defend or enforce the addition. If I were to revert the person, stating, "Removed unnecessary spoiler from the lead.", that person would likely revert me by stating "WP:Spoiler"...as if that settles the matter and now I should shut up and move on. And, to me, that is wrong. You seem to be in agreement with me and Masem about not unnecessarily including spoilers, at least in the lead. So are willing to make that clear in the #Survey section above? Maybe propose new wording in the #Proposals section? That goes for Alsee too. Well, Alsee has already commented in the Proposals section. And then there's Popcornduff, who also agrees with Masem. I'm pinging these additional editors because having these feelings noted in the Survey section above would make the matter of disagreement clearer to the closer of this RfC. I would hate for this RfC to close with nothing being done about the current state of the guideline. Of course, we could have an "After the RfC" discussion to work on the wording, which is done in the cases of some RfCs. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:48, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, my true concern is not the ledes but the articles. The discussion in the section below shows how the desire to avoid it in the lede will merge into the desire to avoid it in the text. DGG ( talk ) 01:57, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
DGG, if the matter of advising against unnecessary spoiling is done right when it comes to the guideline, there will be minimal misuse of it by those who want to unnecessarily hide spoilers. And I state "minimal misuse" because all of our policies and guidelines are misused, including the current WP:Spoiler guideline. We constantly tweak them to make sure that they are applied correctly. I am against unnecessary spoiling, and against unnecessarily hiding spoilers. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:29, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
This is going nowhere.

Pinging two other experienced WP:Film editors: Erik and Betty Logan, any opinions on this topic? You both know that I highly respect you, and appreciate your opinions on any topic, including when they are at conflict with mine. Can you support Masem's suggestions, as seen in the #Survey, #Proposals, Discussion and #Define "spoiler" sections? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 09:06, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

Can you support Masem's suggestions, as seen in the #Survey, #Proposals, Discussion and #Define "spoiler" sections? - That's perilously close to WP:CANVAS. --AussieLegend () 10:18, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
Pinging experienced film editors about a matter that I am proposing is not a WP:Canvass violation. Masem's suggestions are my suggestions. But he framed the matters better, as I've already noted. There isn't a thing in the WP:CANVASS guideline you can find supporting it as a WP:CANVASS violation or "perilously close" to a WP:CANVASS violation. And despite some editors wanting forms of pinging to be seen as WP:CANVASSING, it is highly doubtful that such an addition will be added to that guideline. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:09, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Pinging is fine, but requests for involvement should be neutrally worded. When you specifically ask editors to support a particular point of view, as you did, that's canvassing. --AussieLegend () 07:21, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Pinging editors for their opinions on a proposal is fine. That's what I did. Asking Erik and Betty Logan if they can support Masem's suggestions is not me asking them to support Masem's suggestions. I do not think that I needed to state "Can or can't you support Masem's suggestions?" I was also clear that "I highly respect [their opinions], and appreciate [their] opinions on any topic, including when they are at conflict with mine." This is because they offer meaningful commentary, and almost always in a polite way; they do not get unnecessarily snippy with others and condescend to others. They are very much like Masem in that respect. And even if I had pinged them stating something like "Support Masem's proposal.", there is nothing in the WP:CANVASS guideline that addresses pinging, despite those who want the guideline to do that. And it's unlikely that any such proposal would pass, given that, all over Wikipedia, editors ping others specifically to ask them to support a particular point of view, for a variety of reasons. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 08:22, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Asking another editor "can you support this" gives the distinct impression that you are asking them to support something, whether you intended it that way or not. That is why requests need to be neutrally worded. Pinging editors is no different to actually posting on their talk page. They're still going to see the notification and the message that you left for them. It doesn't matter how you ask them, you're still asking them, and whether you do it on their talk page, via email, or pinging them, it's still canvassing is you ask them to support a particular POV. WP:CANVAS does indeed address this problem, in the section titled "Inappropriate notification". That it doesn't specifically mention pinging is irrelevant. --AussieLegend () 15:00, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
No, it doesn't, taken in context with the rest of what I stated. That you took "Can you support Masem's suggestions?" as me asking them to support any of the suggestions is your interpretation. If I had stated "Can or can't you support Masem's suggestions?", I highly doubt you would have taken issue. But there was no need whatsoever to state "Can or can't you support Masem's suggestions?" Some grammar experts, for example, believe that stating "whether or not" is redundant; you can simply stop at "whether." I stopped at "can." When I pinged them, it was without any assumption of what they would state....unlike when you tried to pinged Masem to my talk page. You clearly believed he would support your viewpoint. WP:Canvass, as made clear at that guideline and on its talk page, is about knowingly pulling in editors to influence a discussion in one's favor. I did not know or suspect that Betty Logan felt this way. And I felt it was better that I ask for their opinions on this dispute out in the open on this talk page instead of at their talk pages. And, for the last time, pinging editors to a discussion is not stipulated as a canvass violation anywhere in the WP:Canvass guideline, which is why it's debated, even currently on that guideline's talk page. And given that editors ping others to support their viewpoint in discussions all the time, including with regard to disruptive editors, I reiterate that it is unlikely that pinging will be added to the guideline as a form of WP:Canvassing. If it is ever added, it will be added with very careful wording. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 15:22, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
If I had stated "Can or can't you support Masem's suggestions?", I highly doubt you would have taken issue - That's more neutral than what you posted, but it's still unnecessary. All you needed to say was "Pinging two other experienced WP:Film editors: Erik and Betty Logan, any opinions on this topic?" By specifically asking them "can you support the suggestion" you have essentially negated what they might have to say, even if they claim it did not affect them, especially as you attempted to influence them by flattering both when you said You both know that I highly respect you, and appreciate your opinions on any topic. WP:CANVAS syas that soliciting support other than by posting direct messages is an inappropriate form of notification. Whether or not it was via a ping is irrelevant, as I've explained above.
"unlike when you tried to pinged Masem to my talk page. You clearly believed he would support your viewpoint." - No, not at all. I don't talk about editors behind their backs. If I cite another editor I prefer to ping them so they have the option to disagree with me if they see fit. This attack by you seems rather hypocritical, seeing that you justified this type of action, both at Wikipedia talk:Canvassing,[4] and on an IP's talk page.[5] --AussieLegend () 17:05, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
The notion that I canvassed or came close to canvassing is yet another thing we disagree on. But since you've taken the matter to the WP:Canvass talk page, it will now be discussed there. It seems your interpretation of a number of Wikipedia rules conflicts with mine. Furthermore, you insult and expect not to be insulted back. You attempt to read my mind and assess my motives and don't want me to do the same to you. And yet you have the gall to talk about being hypocritical. Either way, you are wrong. And had Betty Logan weighed in with an oppose vote, you would not have started your "Oh, you canvassed" nonsense back up soon after she voted. Sorry, I can't do anything about what she thinks. Feel free to ask Betty Logan if I influenced her vote, though -- if I made her feel she had to support me. But I'm sure Betty knows better, since we have disagreed in the past and it's always a civil matter. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:39, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
@AussieLegend: I think it is reasonable for Flyer22 to ping some of the more active Film article editors in discussions about guidelines that have an impact on that particular area. We agree on a lot but not on everything, but she should appreciate that you wouldn't know the nature of our editing relationship. On that basis I think there is a lesson for her to learn here: if you ping editors for an RFC then "What do you think of Masem's proposal?" would be preferable to "Can you support Masem's proposal?" On the matter at hand I chose to make my response a general one and stayed away from the specifics of what Masem proposed: [6]. I think it's fairly clear from what I say that I don't favor changing the actually meaning of the guideline (although I would welcome some clarification), and I don't favor the prescriptive solution that perhaps Masem favors. It seems to me this RFC has got terribly sidetracked with editors wanting to fundamentally revise the guideline while some would like to see it dropped altogether. My interpretation of the guideline is that it does treat spoilers differently from non-spoilers, in that they require encyclopedic justification. For example, a lead will often contain a basic story premise but while that will include plot details we don't reveal endings and twists just for the sake of revealing the twist or the ending. If, on the other hand, spoilers are meant to be treated no differently to any other content then why doesn't the guideline say that, instead of insisting on the rather mysterious "encyclopedic purpose"? It is pretty obvious this RFC is going to fall through so I've entered the discussion in a dying phase but it would be interesting to know how everyone interprets "encyclopedi purpose". Betty Logan (talk) 03:38, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Betty Logan. I'll keep your advice regarding pinging in mind when it comes to RfCs. By "this RFC is going to fall through," it's clear that you mean it will close as "no consensus" or similar. And, yes, it may very well close like that, even though I think there is clear consensus for a change (taking all of the RfC into account, not just the Survey section). I see enough support for editors to work on new wording for the guideline after the RfC closes; the #Driving toward consensus wording section I started above reflects that. And I asked an editor who regularly closes RfCs if he wouldn't mind closing this one once it has run its course. WP:Requests for closure is usually backed up. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:59, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
Betty, thanks for that clarification. There are certainly things that Flyer22 can learn from this. I agree that pinging is fine, I've already said that more than once. It's also fine for others to ping others as is seen necessary. As for what people interpret as "encyclopedic purpose", that's a question that is not easily answered. I don't think a lot of people really understand encyclopaedias and treat Wikipedia as if it was a fan site or TV guide. That's why I've suggested people visit a library and look at a paper encyclopaedia. To me, "encyclopedic purpose" is obvious and just common sense, but I grew up in a world that relied on paper encyclopaedias for the first 40+ years of my life. --AussieLegend () 05:21, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
I removed the Canvassing heading you added, since it is your interpretation of what happened, an interpretation I disagree with, and is therefore non-neutral. It also has no support at the WP:Canvassing talk page where you addressed your concern.
On a side note: Betty Logan, pinging "Flyer22" no longer works since my username is now "Flyer22 Reborn." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:19, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
Also, Betty Logan, by "while some would like to see it dropped altogether," do you mean "get rid of the spoiler guideline" or rather "drop this discussion"? I ask because I don't think anyone here wants to drop the spoiler guideline in its entirety. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:29, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
The heading accurately describes the subject of this part of the discussion. However, since you don't like it, I have replaced it with something more accurate. This part of the discussion needs to be separate from the rest of the discussion, so a heading is appropriate. A heading is also needeed to break up this part of the discussion because it is so long.
It also has no support at the WP:Canvassing talk page where you addressed your concern. - Your comments are, at best, misleading. At the time you wrote that, the comments had been up for just over a day and nobody has yet responded. --AussieLegend () 22:01, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
And I removed your second heading, per the same reasoning. It placed my initial comment (regarding your accusation) under a disputed heading that I did not add, and it biases the matter toward your viewpoint. WP:IDONTLIKEIT does not apply here. And if you really need a heading, you should use "Section break," as is commonly done. I see no need for a heading at all, really; this matter is a part of the discussion, and the canvassing accusation aspect of it is essentially over. As for my "it also has no support at the WP:Canvassing talk page" commentary, there was nothing misleading about it. The editors you had pinged there ignored you. You persisted after I made my "21:29, 22 March 2016 (UTC)" comment and now one editor has finally replied, and I still don't see him supporting the notion that I canvassed. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:00, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
You're blatantly canvassing. If you don't want canvassing and discussion of canvassing under a heading "canvassing", the very first thing to do is not to do that - David Gerard (talk) 23:34, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
And you are blatantly stating that I canvassed due to our disagreements on this talk page. Unless you can show that the WP:Canvassing guideline supports that I canvassed, you are incorrect. Also read Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Editing comments when it comes to headings. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:38, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You've been told by two editors that you were canvassing, another has said you should have used different wording, and at WP:CANVAS you were told to use neutral wording, which is what I said. It's clear that you canvassed and you were caught out. Your persistent removal of the heading three times now (that's 3 reverts by the way) is disruptive. This section needs separation from the rest of the discussion, because it is a completely separate issue and editors should be made aware of that. The addition of headings is supported by WP:TPO. If you don't like where the heading was added, I'm more than happy to add the heading above my own post. --AussieLegend () 01:11, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

One of those editors is you, who has shown a gross misinterpretation of Wikipedia's rules, and has aggressively opposed just about anything I state in this RfC. And the other editor is someone who has also aggressively opposed anything I state in this RfC. Those are hardly neutral viewpoints. Furthermore, two editors' misinterpretation of a rule does not make the misinterpretation correct. Repeatedly restoring that heading was disruptive and a violation of Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Editing comments. Using a heading in a biased way as you did is clearly a violation of that guideline. And I was well within my rights to remove that heading each time. You are the only editor who has been disruptive in this discussion, with your overaggressive tactics and belittling of others. This edit you made to my talk page was also disruptive, and does not work as a scare tactic, with regard to me, in the least. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:37, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
Regardless of who made the accusation, it has been made, and the heading was entirely accurate. So far, you are the only person claiming that you didn't canvas. None of the four other editors so far involved has supported your claim. Have you even considered that it is you who is wrong? As far as I can see, the heading does not contravene WP:TPG at all, and you have not explained how it does. If the heading is restored, and you remove it again, we can resolve this at WP:AN3. --AussieLegend () 01:44, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
And the claim being made means that a biased heading should stay? I think not. The section headings part of Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Editing comments states, "Because threads are shared by multiple editors (regardless how many have posted so far), no one, including the original poster, 'owns' a talk page discussion or its heading. It is generally acceptable to change headings when a better heading is appropriate, e.g., one more descriptive of the content of the discussion or the issue discussed, less one-sided, more appropriate for accessibility reasons, etc. To avoid disputes, it is best to discuss a heading change with the editor who started the thread, if possible, when a change is likely to be controversial."
In other words, you do not own that heading, and I am free to remove it because of its biased nature. The WP:Spoiler guideline does not support you and you have not shown that it does. You have not shown that Betty Logan and Collect support you either. Your "01:44, 23 March 2016 (UTC)" post misrepresents what Betty Logan and Collect stated. Betty Logan did not state I "should have used different wording." She indicated that different wording would have been better because of those (like you) who will see guilt in wording where none exists. And Collect, who ignored you and clearly couldn't care less about this canvassing accusation of yours, did not address his post to me. His posts at that talk page support what I have been stating, which is that canvassing is the intentional action of trying to sway a discussion in one's favor. He also spoke of those who always agree with the person. Betty Logan and I do not always agree, as even she made clear, and we have disagreed plenty. I had no idea that she would offer a "support" vote. And, as she has made clear, her support vote does not even fully agree with my arguments; this is yet another thing she disagrees with me on.
As for reporting me at WP:AN3, that will not go over well. But you can try. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:03, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
And the claim being made means that a biased heading should stay? - The heading is not biased if it accurately describes the content of the section. "Alleged canvassing by Flyer22 Reborn" very accurately describes the content of the section, as does simply "Canvassing". You only believe that it is biased because it discusses your canvassing.
you do not own that heading, and I am free to remove it because of its biased nature - There is a bright line rule and you have reverted the addition of a heading 3 times now. You are not free to remove the heading just because you don't like it. A heading is clearly required to separate the "Discussion" from the "Canvassing". At the moment it is necessary to scroll through over 6,400 words just to get to the canvassing discussion, and another 3,000 to get to here.
She indicated that different wording would have been better because of those (like you) who will see guilt in wording where none exists. - She did not say that at all. She said I think there is a lesson for her to learn here: if you ping editors for an RFC then "What do you think of Masem's proposal?" would be preferable to "Can you support Masem's proposal?" The those (like you) who will see guilt in wording where none exists is only your interpretation.
Collect, who ignored you and clearly couldn't care less about this canvassing accusation of yours, did not address his post to me. His posts at that talk page support what I have been stating - Collect actually said when you ask other editors, you should use language which in no way whatever can be construed as showing your own opinion. This actually supports what I have been saying, that the wording should be neutral.
I had no idea that she would offer a "support" vote. - And yet, that's exactly what you asked her to do.
Of course, in all this, you continue to ignore what an admin told you (before you reverted him), that you were blatantly canvassing.
As for reporting me at WP:AN3, that will not go over well - Feel free to test this by making another reversion. --AussieLegend () 02:49, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
The original heading you added was biased, and so is the "Alleged canvassing by Flyer22 Reborn" heading, which is meant to take focus away from the discussion and notify others, including the closer of this discussion, of supposed wrongdoing. That I canvassed is your interpretation, an interpretation supported by an editor who has acted just like you in this discussion when it comes to antagonistic remarks toward to me. Like I stated, "two editors' misinterpretation of a rule does not make the misinterpretation correct." It was a clear-cut case of WP:Tag team. Your interpretation that I canvassed is not supported by Betty Logan or Collect, no matter how many times you state or imply that it is. Collect was speaking generally; he was not speaking directly to me. And I did not revert any administrator on this matter; so your "before you reverted him" comment is false. You have acted like using "can" in the way that I did is an offense; it is not. It is a simple question. You took that simple question out of context and turned it into something that you feel needs reprimanding. Yes, construed is the keyword here, since you misconstrued matters. There is often no way for editors to word things in ways that will never be misconstrued; this RfC is an ample display of that, and so is your accusation. The aforementioned "Section headings" part of WP:TALK clearly notes that no one owns a heading and that biased headings are to be avoided; it also clearly states, "To avoid disputes, it is best to discuss a heading change with the editor who started the thread, if possible, when a change is likely to be controversial." You did not follow that advice, obviously. Your biased heading was not needed in the least, especially at the time. And to try justify the heading some more, you have kept this debate going so that your sidetrack of a discussion is significantly longer than it was back when you should have WP:Dropped the stick. I already noted: "If you really need a heading, you should use 'Section break,' as is commonly done." As for your threats, you must have me confused with another. As many at this site know, threats do not work on me. In fact, they fail or backfire every time. But feel free to test my patience. I objected to your biased heading, and WP:Edit warring on my part does not apply here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:26, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
I struck part of my post since I see that he is an administrator. But for the record: Being an administrator does not make him any more right. Do read WP:Administrators, including the WP:No big deal aspect of it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:40, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
I am not going to endlessly debate this with you, as it is clear you are not taking anything on board from what other editors have said, instead applying your own interpretations. Perhaps David Gerard will care to comment further when he is back online, but that's up to him. You canvassed, you were caught. Please learn from it and don't do it again. And don't revert anyone in the meantime. --AussieLegend () 04:47, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
I took Betty Logan's and Collect's comments on board, and I've been clear about that; I simply do not interpret their comments to mean that I canvassed. Neither of them have supported the notion that I canvassed. And you know it. Commentary from you or David Gerard that I canvassed are opinions I clearly will not be subscribing to. What I did was not any more canvassing than the fact that you just needlessly pinged David Gerard. If I want to use "can" in the way that I did in the future, I will, since I use it regardless of whether or not I would answer "yes" to the question. If you think you have a strong enough case against me now or in the future, you can try your luck at WP:AN or WP:ANI. But the "can" type of wording I used is showcased all over Wikipedia, including at noticeboards, and never are asinine accusations of canvassing thrown out as they have been in this case. Drawing out this sidetrack of a discussion is not helping a thing, and it would be best if you avoid me in the future. Discussion with you in this RfC has repeatedly been a nightmare because of your need to assign your beliefs to my viewpoints and motives, and your need to belittle, and somehow not expect the same treatment in return. But it's behavior like that which makes me appreciate editors like Masem, Collect and Betty Logan all the more. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:05, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
And to be even clearer, when I told Betty Logan above that "I'll keep [her] advice regarding pinging in mind when it comes to RfCs.", I meant it. When I get constructive criticism or similar, I tend to listen and apply it (in real life and on Wikipedia) when it's coming from a good place. So, yes, I intend to use more careful wording in the future to avoid messes like this. But also per what I stated above, I'm not going to be overly cautious either. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:22, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
As I've said, I'm not going to continue to debate this with you. I will however ask you to stop your personal attacks. They are not appropriate. You really need to drop the stick and back quickly away. --AussieLegend () 05:30, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
And yet another policy misinterpreted by you. As for the rest, pot meet kettle. Citing "drop the stick and back quickly away" after I've just cited it to you? Original. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:33, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────OK, this nonsense has gone on long enough. Pinging interested editors is not canvassing, posting accusatory headers is a failure of AGF, and it’s time to stop the bullying, stop commenting on editors or motives, quit accusing people of canvassing, and go back to simply discussing the issue. We are done here. Montanabw(talk) 19:18, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Define "spoiler"[edit]

Here's the rub. You can't define "spoiler" in such a way that it applies to all people, nor even a strong majority. Maybe a particular recurring actor's appearance in an episode of a series might give away plot elements someone would find unacceptable. Maybe the visual appearance of a particular character might lend too much to maintain surprise at ending. Thing is, we just don't know. "Spoiler" has no objective measure. To prevent spoilers for all readers of an article, we might have the original Star Wars consist of the name of the movie, the year it was released, and how much it grossed. Beyond that, you start spoiling. Just in the second paragraph of that article alone, one could conclude there are at least six spoilers. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:44, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

General comment - I can't think of anywhere else to add my general comment, so I guess I'll do it here. I get Flyer's point about "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" spoilers, I'm just having trouble visualizing language that will reasonably prevent dickish behavior defended by WP:SPOILER, and I'm having trouble thinking of real-world examples. Having real-world examples in any proposed language change would be helpful. Would it be sufficient just to tack on "while Wikipedia is foremost an encyclopedia, not an entertainment guide, remember not to be a dick just for the sake of being a dick"? I'm also in agreement with Hammersoft that defining what constitutes a spoiler is not always easy. As I've noted elsewhere "Mentor dies, guy goes off to avenge his death" could very well be a film's premise, but it contains a spoiler that a mentor, presumably someone that we've become fond of, dies. From E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, "It tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help it return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government." Ta-daa, a significant plot escalation, that E.T. is being pursued by the government, has now been spoiled, and we also know that he makes it home. Even changing the last part to "Elliot and his siblings try to get E.T. back home" doesn't solve the problem because it's a kid's movie and you know that the bastard's gonna make it home alive. And you can't leave that part out entirely, because that's the premise of the film: "Alien lands on Earth and befriends a boy who tries to get the alien back home. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 17:26, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
"Would it be sufficient just to tack on "while Wikipedia is foremost an encyclopedia, not an entertainment guide, remember not to be a dick just for the sake of being a dick"?" Unfortunately, it seems not, given e.g. Flyer's past editing behaviour around spoilers including knowing WP:POINT violation. Remember, it's always the other guy who is a dick per a "don't be a dick" guideline, never oneself - David Gerard (talk) 17:45, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Despite the claim of a WP:POINT violation on my part in the #Survey section above, there was no WP:POINT violation. You could always report me at WP:ANI and see if editors will generally agree with you that making an edit while suspecting or knowing you will be reverted is necessarily a WP:POINT violation. Like the "Important note" section of WP:POINT states, "A commonly used shortcut to this page is WP:POINT. However, just because someone is making a point does not mean that they are disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate that point. As a rule, editors engaging in 'POINTy' behavior are making edits with which they do not actually agree, for the deliberate purpose of drawing attention and provoking opposition in the hopes of making other editors see their 'point'." In the aforementioned case you are referring to, I very much agreed with that edit; I did not make it because I disagree with it.
As for what is a spoiler, I already responded to you in the Discussion section; I stated, "[if it's the case that what is a spoiler is always subjective], then why does the guideline currently state, "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served."? Why should we keep that vague piece of material instead of being explicitly clear about what is or is not an 'encyclopedic purpose' or appropriate? You honestly think it is fine to include a spoiler any and everywhere in a Wikipedia article and then use this guideline to dictate such nonsense? I ask because that is exactly how this guideline is used, especially by the editors who gleefully like to spoil others. People are not idiots; while some people differ on what they consider a spoiler, most people know what huge spoilers are. Enough editors certainly have enough sense to know that the twist ending spoiler for The Sixth Sense does not belong in the lead of that article. Adamstom.97 had it right when he stated above, 'Just like anything else, spoilers should only be added to Wikipedia if appropriate, not because we don't remove spoilers!!! ' Just like you don't like people dictating where spoilers should go, many of us who think spoilers belong in more logical places and not in places where they are not needed and do not serve an encyclopedic purpose whatsoever should not be dictated by misuse of this guideline. [...] In the case of most huge spoilers on Wikipedia, there is a reliable source calling the spoiler a spoiler."
As for people insisting that something is a spoiler when it obviously is not a spoiler, at least to most people, that is what the talk page and WP:Verifiability are for. That is why I stated that "a case-by-case basis" aspect should be made clear in the guideline, just like a case-by-case basis aspect is made clear for a number of our other guidelines. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:11, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I feel obligated to point out that WP:DICK is now m:Don't be a jerk. It just doesn't have the impact that it used to. --AussieLegend () 18:16, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I'm one of the editors who disliked that move; this one too. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:43, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I would actually propose that we can draw a hard line to encompass most facets of a topic that are not a spoiler given a work. It still leaves a grey zone and vagueness to what may be a spoiler, but flipping the question around can help to reduce the size of that grey zone. Specifically, anything related to a work's production (casting, crew, locations, etc.) that is otherwise reliably sourced should be not as possibly being a spoiler. A work's major themes or concise 2-3 sentence elevator-pitch summary you'd find in most reviews should not be considered a spoiler either: the ET example above is prime of what is a major theme and should never be taken as a spoiler. This primarily leaves minor narrative elements for a work to consider on a case by case basis if it is a spoiler, and thus if it should editorially omitted from non-comprehensive sections of articles (ledes or on other related articles). Doing something like this - establishing the line we don't even cross - would help to limit to what I would argue is common sense understanding of what a spoiler might be. --MASEM (t) 19:06, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
And despoilering advocates will take a ceiling as a floor, as Flyer keeps doing in his her repeated insistence that the current language against even considering spoilers is strong advocacy for considering them above NPOV, V or NOR - David Gerard (talk) 19:36, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't know if I would say that, but I would like to consider if that's an option that might help in the future, to say that "We should never handle material of type X as a spoiler", putting our foot down to the isolated cases that complain about these. --MASEM (t) 20:07, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
David Gerard, I am a she, not a he; and your "19:36, 14 March 2016 (UTC)" description of me is inaccurate. If it was correct, Masem would have long stated something to me about it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:12, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Pronoun corrected; my description is of your editing in this section - David Gerard (talk) 20:16, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
[ WP:Edit conflict ]: In other words, as I have made clear, and as Masem and others have made clear, the current language is problematic because it does not clearly allow for a case-by-case basis and is often misused by editors needlessly retaining spoilers in places they do not need to be. Even WP:Lead allows for a case-by-case basis, as is seen in its WP:Cite lead section and elsewhere on the page. WP:Spoiler can and should do the same. Editors' misuse of the guideline is obviously more at fault than the guideline, but the guideline does need tweaking as a result. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:22, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
  • The more I read the Manual of Style, the more I see it at odds with this proposal. The guideline states that the lead section is supposed to obtain the reader's interest in viewing more of the article (not the topic of the article). This would naturally lead them to the plot section in the case of a fictional work, even if they haven't seen the work in question. The guide also states that the lead should avoid "teasing" or "hinting" parts of the article. Foreshadowing is the main tool of marketers to sell a work without giving away the ending, but that's clearly teasing. The only part of the guideline that doesn't conflict with the proposal is its rules concerning the opening paragraph, which should define topic neutrally and succinctly.
For fictional works, I would agree the primary characters and the conflict are the minimum that needs to be established in the opening paragraph to get an understanding of a work. I would argue, however, that outside the first paragraph, any specific plot elements that strengthen the idea of the following paragraphs should be included, whether secondary sources consider the elements "spoilers" or not. Similarly, passing mentions of a work don't need to establish the entirety of its plot, but if you were in an article named "Afterlife in fiction" you'd expect to find The Sixth Sense in there with the supporting context. 23W 20:39, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
23W, the proposal is not about teasing the reader. So I don't see it as being at odds with WP:Manual of Style regarding leads. It's about making the guideline clearer with regard to when and how to include spoilers, and so that it's not misused by editors to unnecessarily include spoilers anywhere they want to; and, yes, that pertains to not putting spoilers in the lead when they don't need to be there. I see the merit in including the spoilers in the lead of the Hans (Disney) article, even though I personally dislike that the spoilers are there. I don't see the merit in including the twist ending in the lead of The Sixth Sense article. Even in this spoiler case at Talk:Kingsman: The Secret Service, I clearly do not see why those two spoilers needed to be in the lead of that article. Including them there was unnecessary and caused unnecessary conflict. And this guideline was used as justification to keep them there. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:38, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Again, to you the death of the mentor in The Kingsman was an obvious spoiler, but as someone who has not seen the film, the text I saw didn't have the ring of an obvious spoiler. This creates a weird situation where people who have seen the film are the only ones in the position of deciding what may be or may not be a spoiler, and someone who has not seen the film is just oblivious. If I don't perceive it as a spoiler, has it been spoiled? And why should it be removed from the lede if I didn't perceive it as a spoiler? Cyphoidbomb (talk) 01:50, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
In my opinion, that enough editors (including two experienced Wikipedians) viewed it as unnecessary spoiling, and that it was causing unnecessary distress and edit warring, was reason enough to remove it. Readers/editors who had not seen the film were also distressed and angered by those two spoilers. It was not just a matter of "Oh, I've seen the film, and I am deciding for others that this is a spoiler." I noted in the #Proposals section above, "[...] I would have been upset or annoyed as well to know about that death before watching the film. I don't think the death was anything to expect; it was unpredictable. Thankfully, I'd already seen the film at the time that editors were arguing about that death spoiler being in the lead. While that death spoiler does not make or break the film, it's certain that a good number of people would rather not know about it before watching the film. And given this, and that it is not necessary in the least for the lead, including it in the lead was unnecessary spoiling. [...] As far as I'm concerned, it's common sense not to include the death of a major character (or any character) in the lead...unless necessary."
Like I told DGG in the #Discussion section, "I am against unnecessary spoiling, and against unnecessarily hiding spoilers." Crafting the guideline so that there is minimal misuse of it by either side is not too complicated of an issue. I don't think that the solution is to let the guideline stay as is, out of fear that we will be allowing the other side to misuse it. One side is already misusing it. All of our rules are misused, and it's our job to ensure minimal misuse of the rules. And I think Masem's proposal in the Proposals section is on the right track. Maybe he wouldn't mind taking a shot at drafting a case-by-case proposal and seeing if we can agree on that. I might add a proposal, but I'm still thinking things over, considering all aspects. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:29, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
"In my opinion, that enough editors (including two experienced Wikipedians) viewed it as unnecessary spoiling, and that it was causing unnecessary distress and edit warring, was reason enough to remove it." This is directly against what the spoiler guideline says, which is why your continued insistence that spoiler status should even be a consideration is coming across as increasingly bizarre - David Gerard (talk) 13:29, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
The guideline specifically states, "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." And that is what Sock and I cited with regard to removing those two unnecessary spoilers. We did not see any encyclopedic purpose being served by including them. And that people apparently interpret "encyclopedic purpose" differently and often ignore it is all the more reason to change the guideline so that unnecessary spoiling is not allowed. Furthermore, WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY, a policy, is very clear that we do not solely go by what the rules state. An over-reliance on guidelines, including this one, at the expense of common sense is a problem. If what I am stating here was bizarre, there would not be so much support for what I am stating. Forget the headcount in the Survey section. Look at the reasonable arguments elsewhere on the page supporting what I have been stating. What is bizarre is the insistence that we must continue to unnecessarily spoil or that we cannot possibly come up with wording that will prevent that. Some editors are simply okay with spoiling, or love to do so. Others, like me, are not/do not. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:14, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
What is bizarre is that people constantly ignore the fact that encyclopaedias do not concern themselves with spoilers. --AussieLegend () 11:40, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
And as this discussion shows, editors disagree with you on that. And like I already noted, Wikipedia is not like traditional Wikipedias in the least. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:26, 16 March 2016 (UTC)‎
That some editors may misunderstand the make-up of an encyclopaedia, and not realise that an encyclopaedia is not a fansite or TV Guide is unfortunate. That they apparently don't read is even more troubling. I've already pointed out that the essay from which you obtained your proposed wording (which doesn't limit its application to the lead despite claims to the contrary) says "By the nature of being an encyclopedia covering works of fiction, Wikipedia contains spoilers." WP:DISC, which is linked to in that quote, says "Wikipedia contains spoilers". I've even encouraged others to go to an actual library and look at a real encyclopaedia so they can see the difference. Encyclopaedias really don't give a damn about spoilers. How many early 17th century encyclopaedias do you think got letters saying "you didst spoileth the outcome of Romeo and Juliet for me"? Encyclopaedias contain spoliers and people reading an encyclopaedia should be reading one if they don't want to be spoiled. It's really that simple and we shouldn't have to baby our readers. --AussieLegend () 18:09, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
Like I told you in the #Proposals section above, "Editors disagreeing with you (and a number of experienced editors in this discussion clearly disagree with you) does not mean that they don't understand what an encyclopedia is." As for the rest, I've clearly already given my arguments. And it's clear you and I will never agree on this matter. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:19, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
And for the record, no one claimed that the aforementioned essay limits its application to the lead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:24, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
Just to comment in considering my concept of defining what is absolutely not going to be considered a possible spoiler on WP, I would set a bright line that any details from a work more than 50 years old (heck, maybe even 25 years) is assumed to be nonspoiler. EG: no piece of the play Romeo & Juliet should be considered as a spoiler, and everyone can safely write openly assuming that it is within common knowledge that Rosebud is the sled or that the Titanic sinks. --MASEM (t) 19:22, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
Can we spoil Star Wars VIII when it's released? The story is from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Just trying to bring a little levity back to the discussion so we can all be friends again one day... Cyphoidbomb (talk) 20:24, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
Humor taken, but just to extend on that thought, if a new work came out that is historically accurate re-narration (eg like the film Titanic), I would also consider that the narrative elements related to real history are completely outside what we'd even start to consider as a spoiler. Eg: That the Titanic sinks is no way a spoiler, but that Jack (a fictional character made for the film) dies at the end might be considered one to discuss on its inclusion in lede or elsewhere. --MASEM (t) 20:29, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Close discussion[edit]

GRuban, I appreciate you closing this RfC, but I want to address your statement that "any attempt to legislate [spoilers] in general will fail." This is not criticism of your close; it's just disagreement with one aspect of it. From the above discussion, or from editing Wikipedia daily, I'm not seeing that any attempt to legislate spoilers will fail. I mean, this guideline is already used to legislate spoilers. It's used to argue that a spoiler can be validly placed anywhere. There is substantial agreement in the RfC that a spoiler cannot be validly placed anywhere (in other words, there are at times nonsensical or poor places for spoilers), and that this guideline should not be used as a license to be a jerk about spoiling. As you noted, "many participants agree that, in general, the lead of an article is not the place for spoilers." Even some of the oppose voters and those who did not vote agreed that spoilers generally should not go in the lead. My proposal did give "don't spoil in the lead" examples, and spoiling in the lead is the main objection when it comes inclusion of spoilers. So it's understandable that this discussion focused so much on leads. I also saw enough agreement that some editors are using this guideline to WP:Game the system and that the "encyclopedic purpose is being served" aspect of the guideline is unnecessarily vague. So when it comes to those particular points, I think that the proposal succeeded. It spurred on a conversation involving a number of editors who agreed that the current wording is not satisfactory. I think that this topic should have more discussion, and that wording from Masem could be widely supported if the proposal was done in a manner that is clearer than my initial proposal. But I recognize that this particular RfC is over. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:37, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

Not meant to be either my opinion or prediction, just my attempt to list one of the objections. --GRuban (talk) 14:07, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

Spoilers are usually not necessary in the lead. This discussion is a close discussion, and I'm saying my piece. This discussion should have closed as consensus for no spoilers in the lead unless necessary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.223.236.128 (talkcontribs)

I reverted your edit on the grounds that a Wikipedia policy should not be changed by a drive-by IP with three edits ever, including the above comment - David Gerard (talk) 19:58, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
There was no consensus to change anything in the guideline. Several proposals and counter proposals were offered, but none got support. —Farix (t | c) 02:27, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
The IP, who also seems to be this IP, has a point about the general agreement found in the RfC; as noted above (including by the closer), there was general agreement that the lead is usually not the place for spoilers. So that sentiment had abundant support. Some of the proposals had a little support as well. But, yes, there was no consensus on exact wording. This matter will be revisited again anyway. And if I'm the one to start an RfC in that case, it will be clearer and likely more so tailored to discussion of spoiling in the lead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 06:41, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
Also, this is a guideline, not a policy. As previously noted, editors treating it like a policy has been part of the problem. But I agree that, given the above discussion, this edit made by the IP needs discussion if it is to remain. So the IP should not WP:Edit war over it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 06:51, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

This policy is not good for readers[edit]

Wikipedia is not merely an objective database but also a resource. People want to learn about a piece of fictional media, and so they often either look it up straight on Wikipedia, or Google it (which often has Wikipedia as a top result). Having spoilers so clearly in front can and will alienate readers who just want a light summary and not every explicit detail. All they will learn is that Wikipedia is not a good resource when it comes to fictional material, and avoid it in the future.

Don't misconstrue what I'm saying as the opposite extreme. I'm not saying that Wikipedia should be out to promote these fictional works. You can still provide a factual summary without spoiling the reader, except when absolutely necessary (as in the case of noteworthy controversies). It's not difficult to accomplish.

Also, many of these fiction-based articles not only spoil the reader, but go out of their way to do so. Certain writers make it a priority, even when it's unnecessary. The standard often changes from article to article. Some keep their spoilers in the episode summaries (which are either a separate section or another article entirely), some put them right out in front. The former is more reader-friendly than the latter.

67.168.247.216 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 07:24, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

First, there is a big difference between covering every explicit detail and the main points of the overall plot. Second, I don't see is as Wikipedia's job to protect people that don't realize that a plot section covers plot details. Finally, is there any evidence thst anyone has stopped using Wikipedia over this?--174.91.187.80 (talk) 20:54, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
How can you verify that a plot detail is a spoiler? After all, what plot details are considered "spoilers" is entirely in the eye of the beholder. You simply cannot describe a plot summary completely without including plot details that some individuals may consider "spoilers". I'll also point out that many readers come to Wikipedia to read the so-called "spoilers". In fact, the reason websites that cover TV and film placed the word "spoiler" in an articles' headline is to attract readers. —Farix (t | c) 22:08, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
@TheFarix: While I agree with most of what you said above I have a question where you said: "In fact, the reason websites that cover TV and film placed the word "spoiler" in an articles' headline is to attract readers." Now that I would like to see a source for, reliable (preferable) or otherwise. Please note that I am not being funny or trying to make trouble. I am currently researching historic strategies for marketing of films and tv shows and I haven't seen any articles that suggest what your statement does. Thanks. Koala Tea Of Mercy (KTOM's Articulations & Invigilations) 08:20, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
It IS NOT A POLICY! And it being used as one is one of the main problems I noted in the above RfC. IP, a number of editors expressed that this guideline is problematic as written; this includes one of the main editors who has supported the guideline for years, Masem. See the Survey section above, and the discussions that follow it. Because of the support that RfC received, and my disagreement with how that RfC was closed despite that support (except for the fact that the closer rightly noted that there was general agreement that spoilers typically should not be in the lead), I will be revisiting this spoiler case in another month or so. It will be held at WP:Village pump (policy) and the RfC will be crafted differently (with consideration given to the consensus that spoilers typically should not be in the lead) and well-advertised. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:29, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I'm still amazed that you managed to take a sentence from a paragraph that was written to express as bluntly as possible the opinion that spoilerness should not be taken account of in any manner, and somehow interpret it as a warrant to take spoilerness into account - David Gerard (talk) 22:50, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you are talking about, but I'm still amazed that you do not see that the general consensus, as noted by the closer of the RfC, is that spoilers typically should not be in the lead. If you want to know the reasons for that, you are free to read the RfC all over again. There was no consensus that the guideline should stay as it is. None. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:02, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Flyer, if you opened another RfC and the community could not agree on any changes, would that be the end of the matter for you? I'm not asking as a dig against you--I'm just trying to figure out if there's any "no change" scenario that you'd tolerate. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 23:40, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
You misrepresented my stance. This guideline is generally fine, but I would have no problem with more clarifying language to recommend where judicious use of spoilers should be taken. --MASEM (t) 00:01, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Cyphoidbomb, the continuous posts on this talk page about problems with the guideline mean that the matter will never be over. That stated, it could be improved, per the previous proposals. There would certainly be less complaints about the guideline if the guideline's wording was improved and did not make it seem that a spoiler should reasonably be placed anywhere. I would try to continue the proposal aspect here without a RfC, but that won't work since editors watching this page usually ignore or disregard complaints about and/or suggestions for the guideline. There is hardly ever a discussion here. The biggest discussion happened because of the RfC that I advertised. In this case, the community did agree on the lead matter and that the current wording is vague. What tripped up the RfC (other than my initial wording for it not being clear to some editors, and the bickering) is that editors could not all, or even majority-wise, agree on exact wording that would be an improvement. Will I ever accept the guideline as is? No. Will I keep pursuing that it is changed from the state it is currently in? After one more RfC (if I'm the one to start it, that is), I will likely be done with pursuing the matter on my own. If an editor needs my help to reasonably change the guideline after that, I will oblige.
Masem, I did not mean to misrepresent your stance. My initial comment above regarding you was to note that even though you have supported this guideline for years, you agree that it needs improvement...especially to combat the the way it is currently misused by a number of editors. I kept all your RfC commentary in mind. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:24, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

I'm just popping in here... I had posted on the talk page some time ago... unhappy to see there was a vote that I didn't know about, I would have expressed my opinion again. I can't quite understand exactly what the outcome of this was... what is the current policy?Daleylife (talk) 10:22, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

The policy is the same as it's been for years. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Any content should be added or not added based on if it helps the encyclopedia. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:02, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
Daleylife, keep in mind that WP:Spoiler is a guideline, not a policy. See WP:Policies and guidelines for a better understanding of the difference. I considered contacting you about the RfC, but your edit history shows that you are a very inactive editor and you didn't (still don't) have an email option enabled. I had hoped you would turn up to comment in time, but, alas, it didn't happen. Just read the RfC to see the various thoughts made in the discussion. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:15, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
At a certain point, the difference between "guideline" and "policy" is a continuum. See also Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles (which refers to spoilers in its first sentence) or Wikipedia:Perennial proposals for suggested changes to guidelines that never quite seem to swing it, and why that might be.
Flyer22, you appear yet again to be trying to rules-lawyer your way to a world where Wikipedia will consider spoilers as an editorial issue. I don't expect you'll listen, but I do feel I should note this is exceedingly unlikely to pass, and that in making out to others that it has a chance you are misleading them - David Gerard (talk) 15:31, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
David Gerard, are you threatened every time I comment here? Seems like. The aforementioned RfC does not at all indicate that considering spoilers as an editorial issue "is exceedingly unlikely to pass." And if it did, you wouldn't be repeatedly trying to counter anything I state at this talk page. You wouldn't be worried about the continual and growing support for a change in the guideline. And, really, spoilers are already an editorial issue, as a number of editors in the RfC made clear. Many editors use common sense when it comes to where a spoiler should and should not go. Others just like to spoil for no reason at all, and this guideline will eventually be changed to make it clearer that spoiling for no reason at all is unacceptable. A number of editors in the RfC made it clear that the "When including spoilers, editors should make sure that an encyclopedic purpose is being served." sentence is not enough to counter unnecessary spoiling. I suggest you stop seeing this matter as a notch on your belt. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:27, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

@Flyer22 Reborn:I just want to to reply to Flyer22. I have confirmed my email address. And in regards to my editing, I edited for years before knowing I could make an actual account. Sometimes I have forgotten to log in, but I will try to stay logged in from now on. I appreciate you at least thought to try to alert me to the vote. I have yet to really read what's been discussed as of late. I will add my thoughts if applicable, after I read everything. Daleylife (talk) 05:08, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Readd, but only for movies[edit]

This function should be readded, but only for movies (and some specific, very popular books). In my opinion, we should have a spoiler label that has a timed occurrence, such as it is only present for six months after the release, and then it is removed automatically. Please send feedback. UNSC Luke 1021 (talk) 15:14, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Why only movies and specific popular books? Harryhenry1 (talk) 03:26, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
Because it just seems logical. I don't know how to explain, but it just makes sense. Like seriously they removed the tag because someone used it on The Three Little Pigs. Obviously you won't need a spoiler alert for that. Video games would probably aid from a spoiler tag as well but I'll get to that later on. UNSC Luke 1021 (talk) 11:41, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
This only makes it more subjective in its application, one of the reasons it was a problem when we had them. Once you include them, even if you argue for specifically objective bounds, people will still find ways to make that extend well outside those bounds or other issues. Hence better not to include them at all, and if you get "burned" once on being spoiled when coming to WP on a recent work, you know to avoid that in the future. --MASEM (t) 11:47, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
I orginally thought we could take a vote or something, but now I read what you're saying and I'm now not requesting this UNSC Luke 1021 (talk) 12:02, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

My thoughts on changing the guideline[edit]

Welp, I'm late. Very, very late.

Shocked to see so much opposition to the change in the guideline. I'll be frank, I did not read this entire mountain of opinion--- but I clearly saw more people auguring that spoilers on wikipedia should stay and some even think the guideline needs to be stronger.

So, I will just share my opinion as best I can. @Cyphoidbomb: mentions in their opposition that a film student might want spoilers galore on film articles for research. (Basically.) I was a film student and here's what I say: Yes, sometimes I do want as much info on a film or television show that I can find. I want to read on wikipedia every little detail on the plot, production, etc.

But, here's the other side of the coin... the reason I began talking on this page in the first place.

Say I have just discovered a new television show. It's currently on its 5th season, but the previous seasons are available to stream. Now say that I've watched Season 1. I now come to wikipedia because I love this show. I want to read more about it. I go to the wiki page for this show. Now, in my opinion, I feel that main pages of shows should be vague. Don't spoil too much. However, if I click on SEASON ONE that takes me to a new page, it is within this page that spoilers can be every other word--- I have watched season one, so I know all that happens. And I might want to know some behind the scenes stuff. Any twists about this season would be here.

However--- say a character is in season one and then is absent until season five. The fact this character appears again SHOULD NOT be in "the season one" article, because it spoils a season I have yet to see. The interesting throwback to a character that reappears would be better suited on the main page for the fifth season. Now, of course there normally is that chart showing the actors and the seasons they appear in. So THAT is a little iffy, I do admit. But those charts don't give any character detail, so while you might know a character returns, you don't know why. the DETAIL of the character's return would be on the main page for the season in which they reappear.

Basically, spoilers, I feel, should be contained within their respective season main pages. The general page for a show should be vague, certainly not spoiling a character's true identity in the cast section or changing a female's last name if she marries a character at the end of a season. I gave the real life example that the /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desperate_Housewives cast section originally revealed (SPOILER) that Susan Mayer eventually marries Mike Delfino, so the actress was credited as "Susan Delfino" in the main cast section, which spoils Susan's story arc.

If for any reason a spoiler must be included in the main page of a television show, I feel a cover feature should be implemented, where the reader must hover over it with its mouse or click it if on mobile.) My point is that a reader could be on a page just for a basic summary or they could in fact be a student wanting to know the whole enchilada. To account for both these cases, the "hover over spoiler" is a good work around. I also feel thisshould be the case for film articles, as there usually isn't more "in depth pages" for films. Those are just one huge article. This "hover over" spoilers also is a good thing to do for books.

But with films, like the television shows, I do feel character descriptions should still be vague. They can hint to something more, but the cast section is the 1st or second thing you see, and a reader very well could just want basic information. I do admit that film articles might be trickier to "solve" when it comes to spoilers, but those that supported the change of the guideline seemed to indicate that having an editor use discretion when editing makes perfect sense to me. Away from having spoilers hidden that you must uncover, I think a general "spoilers ahead" or something to that effect could be noted in articles for books, films, and television. Just give a little warning since you aren't quite sure who's reading.

Lastly, why I feel this is a situation that needs to be addressed is when you search for a film or television show, wikipedia is almost always a top search result. Editors MUST find a balance between the casual "wanting to know just a bit" reader and the "film student wanting every detail" reader. Daleylife (talk) 06:13, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Go to the top of this page. See all those archive links? Start reading. And then keep reading. And then read some more. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 07:39, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Spoilers are fine in actual articles, e.g. episode synopsis pages. They are unacceptable in List of Episode summaries, which are used by people before they've seen some or all of the episodes. This policy must be reversed on at least these pages. Abatie (talk) 16:48, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

No, list of episode pages may use spoilers. We don't consider that people who haven't seen a full series may come to these pages to read about them. --MASEM (t) 17:01, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
And that policy is unacceptably wrong: people *do* use the List of Episodes pages who haven't seen some or all of the episodes. Abatie (talk) 18:04, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Which goes back to the core of our Spoiler policy - what is considered a spoiler is highly subjective and thus impossible to distinguish, so we simply do not worry ourselves with hiding spoilers. --MASEM (t) 18:09, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
And what does that matter to an encyclopedia that attempts to cover a topic as completely as reliable sources allow? We don't remove verifiable content from articles because "people may not want to know about it." —Farix (t | c) 19:01, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Maybe Wikia (which proudly proclaims "Fandom powered by Wikia") is a better place for you and the hypothetical others to search for episode lists catered to your spoiler-free expectations. Not even sure what you (and the hypothetical others) expect to see at a List of episodes article. I assume only titles and airdates? Even loglines can contain some spoiling information. So can titles, actually. Let's cut those too. And if an episode aired on Valentine's Day, that might potentially spoil the love-story premise. Come to think of it, we should collectively demand that guest star credits be placed at the end of episodes. If I know at the beginning that John De Lancie is in a Star Trek episode, then I know it's a Q story, and that'll spoil the surprise Q pops in to torment Picard. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 20:41, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
List of Episodes is equivalent to TV Guide and should be treated as such. strawman arguments about absurd cases are silly. While there may be some gray areas in what's considered a spoiler, if something is controversial, it can be handled in its own discussion. In the real world, it's not going to be an issue *that* often. It's absurd that the idea of removing a major spoiler from a brief summary (like a main character getting killed off) should be forbidden. Abatie (talk) 23:48, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a TV guide, so your analogy is false. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and the express purpose of an encyclopedia is to convey as much pertinent information as possible in the least amount of space. Now, some LOE pages, like List of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes don't contain summaries, but that's largely because the sheer volume of episodes and summaries and other content has warranted the creation of independent articles for each season. But per longstanding WikiProject Television consesnsus, 1) We don't create a LOE article until we've started a second season episode table (which means that full episode summaries would appear in the MAIN article for that show for all of S1) and 2) only when there is sufficient content to warrant an independent article for the season would we create one. Your objection to having spoilers in LOE tables would require us to create individual season articles from the very beginning regardless of whether or not there was sufficient content to warrant one. So let's say Sherlock (TV series) was starting, per your argument, we'd have to create a S1 article for a scant three episodes, and then unique articles for each season thereafter just to protect you and the hypothetical others from having their trivial enjoyment spoiled. That's a ridiculous amount of sprawl for something that is basically your own problem and your own responsibility to manage. Not to mention all the additional work editors would have to perform to write all those loglines, assuming that's what you're looking for when you access the LOE page. Who's going to perform that work? Cyphoidbomb (talk) 00:45, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I was arguing no such thing - a List of Episodes is a List of Episodes, whether it's a separate article or not. Nor do I expect editors to do the work there any more than they do anywhere else in the site. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abatie (talkcontribs) 02:19, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
You are arguing exactly such a thing as what I've detailed above, not because it's part of a devious plan on your part, (it's obviously not) but because from lack of experience you aren't aware of how most TV articles evolve, and the result of your objection would require massive changes across the entirety of our television articles. During the normal evolution of a TV article, all those complete beginning-to-end 200-word synopses for season one should already appear at the main article in broad daylight until such time as we could spin them off into a unique List of Episodes article. Now, if those complicated 200 word summaries spoil your enjoyment of each episode in season one, 1) who's responsible for going through all of the complex summaries of TV shows across the project? 2) Who writes shorter unspoil-y versions? 3) What do we do with the information we've suppressed? Throw it out? Stuff it behind some giant spoiler wall? Do we make a college kid studying TV highlight every summary like a lottery scratcher? Or do we create a unique article for every episode in global television history based on those paltry 200 word episode synopses? Maybe you have other possibilities? From where I'm sitting, the need to have fictional enjoyment preserved at all costs seems to make the delivery of factual content really complicated. I'd rather someone happen upon an article, read a summary and say, "oh shit, I shouldn't have read that" than create some complicated scenario where people who really need the information can't readily find it because of the coddling alternatives. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 04:47, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
You are very wrong on this point. A list of episodes is a summary of episodes in either a series or a single season. As part of that summary, the plot of those episodes, and especially major plot points, must be summarized in order to be complete. Also, content verified by reliable sources is not censored and a plot summary is verified by the episode itself. It very much appears you are advocating a form of censorship by prohibiting certain plot details you deem to be "spoilers". —Farix (t | c) 01:41, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
By all means, pull out the big C-word just because I'm advocating some common sense common courtesy. Well, at least now I've experienced how Wikipedia got its reputation. Let's just apply ivory tower guidelines to special cases where they not only don't make sense, but are highly obnoxious as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abatie (talkcontribs) 02:19, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Suppression of information on the basis that it would cause you brief emotional discomfort is exactly censorship. Let's not say "fuck" because it could offend someone's sensibilities. What's the difference? It's trivial suppression of information. And your "common sense courtesy" example is not well conceived, given you've provided no plan for what your ideal scenario is, or any plan for how to implement it, or where the proposed labor would come from to implement it. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 04:47, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

@Abatie: - first, let me say, sorry that this is not a warm welcome but as stated above, there are tens of pages of people discussing this over at least ten years. It's...tired and contentious. I think we would all ask you to consider the following:

  • What is a spoiler? - that sounds easy right? Try it! See how specific you can get as an over-arching concept.
  • What is it possible to spoil? - previously, people have gone so far as to remove information from articles about fairground rides to avoid 'spoiling' the endings - do you consider this to be a valid argument? If not, at what point do we draw the line, and how would you argue that the line was not arbitrary?
  • What if the spoiler is the thing that makes it notable/an intrinsic part of the work? - Romeo and Juliet die. If you live in a 'western culture' you already know that. How would you write a spoiler ?policy that incorporated 'exceptions' for 'things everyone already knows' and again, how would you make that line non-arbitrary? If you don't think we should make an exception, how far are you willing to take this? Previously, someone (perhaps facetiously) put a spoiler warning on the 3 little pigs. Is this something that is acceptable? If not, why?
  • Who are we removing this information for? - Above, I said, if you live in a 'western culture' you know that Romeo and Juliet die. What if you're from a culture or country where people aren't exposed to Shakespeare? Aren't you being rather anglo-centric and culturally insensitive if you decide that it's ok to spoil endings for those people? What if a TV show has been broadcast in the UK this week, but US audiences won't be able to see it until next week - are we going to hold off on adding the information, just for those readers?

These are things to carefully consider, and that we have, for years. Though additional input is always welcome, I would suggest that you do a little digging into why things are the way they are. (And maybe everyone else could see that this person has made 10 edits and be a little less bite-y) PanydThe muffin is not subtle 22:08, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

  • As a Wikipedian (and as a spoiler-warning-hater) I definitely don't want Abatie feeling like everyone's descended upon them. The Spoiler Debate is basically that individual Wikipedians can be quite sensible as individuals, but Wikipedians as a group tend to immediately take any idea to extremes. The archives of this talk page will be most informative ... - David Gerard (talk) 00:10, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

The Wikitrout of remarkably Doomed Proposals[edit]

Rainbow trout transparent.png Whack!

You've been whacked with a wet trout.

Don't take this too seriously. Someone just wants to let you know you did something silly.

This has been discussed to death, if you want to start a long and acrimonious debate culminating in no change in the guideline then feel free, but be aware that is all you will be doing. Guy (Help!) 22:34, 6 January 2017 (UTC)