Dealing with spoilers in a professional manner
Just don’t be a dick - It’s not that difficult!
2019-04-28 3 minutes
Spoiling films is something which has plagued people since forever. If something dramatic happens, of course people don’t want to find out by just being told, they want to watch and experience it for themselves. Unfortunately, it seems many people take pride and pleasure in spoiling films for people.
In the last two weeks, we’ve had both Season eight of Game of Thrones, and Avengers endgame released. Both of which are long-awaited finales to large franchises, and all contain story points which should not be spoiled. I’ve never quite been able to understand how it’s so difficult to not talk about spoilers, whether this be on the internet, in a professional environment, or even down the pub. No matter where you are, you’re going to bump into people who won’t have seen it yet, and don’t appreciate having to hear you talk about it.
# Cardinal Rules
There’s two really simply rules when it comes to spoilers:
- If you’ve seen a film with a plot point which could be considered a plot spoiler, be careful where you talk about it. Be careful of anyone in earshot, and don’t have conversations in public channels.
- If you simply have to talk about something, check that those around either don’t care, have already seen it, or are far enough away they can’t hear you
Both of which can be summarized by “Don’t be a dick” and “Use common sense”.
# Just be considerate
Whether someone intends to see a film or not, be considerate they may not want to hear about it for a while. Given the example of Game of Thrones, people may be multiple seasons behind, so what you may consider a well-known fact, they may not know about yet.
If you’re in an environment like an office, where there’s going to be many people with different opinions, just don’t talk about it!
One of the worst examples I’ve seen of someone not quite understanding spoilers, is self-imposing a 48-hour buffer where you can’t talk about it. On the face of it, this seems reasonable, until you realize that after said 48 hours, anyone can talk about it with 0 consequences, which is definitely less than reasonable. Rest assured said person was quickly put in their place!
# “When is it OK to talk about possible spoilers?”
That’s a difficult question. Simply not talking about any film forever is quite crazy, and will kill any hype around a film and many communities. There definitely has to be some point at which films are OK to talk about, because we’re already doing it. I think it’s quite safe to assume everyone knows Darth Vader is Luke’s father (if you didn’t, I’m sorry, but also you’re missing out!).
I suspect there’s no “Golden rule” for this, just apply some common sense. If a film isn’t out on DVD yet, or on Netflix, it’s safe to say many people haven’t seen it yet. I suspect it’ll be some kind of buffer around the point on DVD, although even that doesn’t quite work. For example “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was in cinemas in December 2017, but I would still think twice before talking about certain plot points out loud.
As the subtitle says: Just don’t be a dick. It’s not that difficult!