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Does a Spoiler Have an Expiration Date?


This is a C/P from a post I made on Dtoid's ultra-sexy, brand-spanking new forums today. I'd like most of the discussion to go on there so I can have as many people as possible in one place talking about this, but I'd also like to hear as many opinions as possible so if you don't want to go to the forums, here is fine. Link: https://forums.destructoid.com/threads/does-a-spoiler-have-an-expiration-date.181/

So, The Last of Us Part 2 is finally out and it's glorious! And leading up to its release there was the controversy regarding some asshat leaking major spoilers. Fortunately I've done a great job of avoiding nearly all possible info on the game and have gone in as blind as possible. No small part due to how well the Dtoid community are quite aware of posting spoilerly stuff (though it does happen from time to time still)

Also, earlier this week Persona 4 Golden hit Steam. Since I've never played it and loved Persona 5 I bought it the second I heard the news. This game came out in 2008. You would think that anyone who wanted to play it would have done so by now. In my case I've wanted to play it for a while but when it was first released I was in a period of big change in my life and didn't have time for it and when things slowed down I wasn't ready to drop a few hundred bucks on a Vita to play one particular game. So the Steam version is a big deal for me and I imagine others. In fact, I see that for many this will be their first time playing P4.

Sure, there's been a deluge of fan art and music covers plastered all over Dtoid FP, Qtoid, CBlogs, and the internet, and even if I personally consider showing a character who isn't revealed in the first 10 minutes of gameplay or playing music a spoiler, it's not an egregious one. And somehow, for the past 12 years I've been able to avoid nearly all story spoilers. I didn't even know what the general set-up was going into the game.

Then, what really sparked me wanting to start this conversation, a post on Qtoid dropped a big spoiler on P4 for me. The person is a long time Dtoid member and one of my absolute favorite people 'round here. They posted a screenshot they found humorous and unwittingly spoiled a story beat that would have been a big surprise for me. They probably posted it for the humorous joke in the dialogue but the image behind the dialogue told a lot, even if I saw it in a half-second glance while thumbing through Qtoid while taking my morning coffee poop.

Another thing that sparked me wanting to start this conversation was a small discussion on a Qtoid post talking about how long should one hold off on posting anything regarding a new game. 2 weeks? 2 months? 2 years? 20 years?

TLoU2 will probably take me roughly a month to beat as I like to savor and take my time with games (especially one's that I have been anticipating a long time) and there are certain days I don't want to play because of my tinnitus. Some people will be done with the game in a matter of days. Should I suck it up and avoid interacting with Dtoid and the internet till I finish the game? I know a couple members are doing this for TLoU2 and I don't like that because I like having them around engaging with the community.

So, before I keep rambling on and on let me ask my questions:

  • What is a spoiler?
  • What are the unwritten rules regarding spoilers?
  • Is there a certain amount of time before we can freely post about a game?
  • What are egregious and minor spoilers? Where do they fit in to the timeline regarding when we can post about them?
  • How should a member comport themselves when wanting to share a reaction to a big moment in a game or discuss something that may be spoilery?

I know Dtoid has it's own site rules but what I want to hear are your opinions on this. What one considers a spoiler may not have even crossed the mind of another. Since Dtoid is a gaming site, let's keep the discussion related to game spoilers as much as possible.


My response:

To give my opinion on a few of my own questions:

A spoiler is anything that isn't widespread, common knowledge about a game; information officially revealed in a trailer, playable demo, or officially shown off by the devs themselves. Though even this can be tricky as I'll watch the first teaser trailer for an anticipated game and then go silent on said game till release day avoiding all other trailers and gameplay demos. For a game I don't know about I tend to watch an official gameplay trailer or read a review to get a sense if I'll like the game, but even then I try to avoid a lot.

Egregious spoilers are what I think most will agree on. Talking about big story beats. Luke is Vader's mother. Greedo sucks face with Han. You visit a major, surprising location, etc.
Minor spoilers are tricky. Revealing a character that's not immediately in the game. Some fan art. Talking about gameplay mechanics not immediately available. Talking about the opening sequences/cutscenes or first act in general. Any out of context dialogue. Landscape screenshots or out of context screenshots. Even Dtoid's FP posts the other day about giving hints on how to unlock things in certain locations of TLoU2 with vague names I still found spoilery and felt that they could have been collected in a single post with a title that doesn't say 'break room', 'warehouse', 'sex dungeon'. There's a lot and these are the first to come to mind.

I think all egregious spoilers should always be avoided for all time. No expiration date. Keep that shit behind spoiler tags and in places regulated to speak about them. Period.

Minor spoilers I say about 1 year but still be mindful of how you post/talk about them. When in doubt, spoiler tag.

If someone wants to discuss a spoilery part of a game making it absolutely clear in the thread or Qpost/Cblog title is a must. Always give people a chance to avoid the discussion if they choose to.

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About RiffRaff one of us since 10:06 AM on 05.23.2013

I like video games. Nintendo, RPG, Adventure, basically anything that doesn't involve other people games. I like other stuff too. I don't pee on the carpet.

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