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Spoiler (media)


A spoiler is an element of a disseminated summary or description of any piece of fiction that reveals any plot elements which threaten to give away important details. Typically, the details of the conclusion of the plot, including the climax and ending, are especially regarded as spoiler material. It can also be used to refer to any piece of information regarding any part of a given media that a potential consumer would not want to know beforehand. Because enjoyment of fiction depends a great deal upon the suspense of revealing plot details through standard narrative progression, the prior revelation of how things will turn out can "spoil" the enjoyment that some consumers of the narrative would otherwise have experienced. Spoilers can be found in message boards, articles, reviews, commercials, and movie trailers.

The term spoiler was introduced in the early days of the Internet, and came to prominence in newsgroup conversations. It is still common in internet articles and social media discussions. Early rules of netiquette insisted that spoilers could and should be normally avoided, but if the posting of "spoiling" information was unavoidable, it be preceded by a warning such as "SPOILER ALERT", or the spoiler itself has to be masked so that it can not be visible to any but those keen for details and not fazed at the thought of such potentially plot-revealing information.

Sometimes, these warnings are omitted, accidentally or deliberately (see below), and some unwitting readers have had literature, films, television programmes and other works that they were looking forward to experiencing "spoiled".

There is a common demand, especially among internet users, to have protection against accidentally seeing material considered to include "spoiler" information, even in the internet version of settings where such material has conventionally and historically appeared, such as discussion groups or literary reviews. As a result of this level of objection to spoilers, trolls may post them purely for their own pleasure, finding amusement in believing they are completely ruining a narrative experience for others. On reputable websites, these can be reported to moderators and such posts taken down, the posters blacklisted, but only after the fact. Most such websites provide a means of tagging certain threads as containing spoilers for those who wish to discuss a fictional work in depth, including the outcomes of events and the handling of the narrative resolution. Some have felt compelled to avoid participating on public websites altogether, set up "closed" websites to exclude those who are sensitive about spoilers, or decided they had to unilaterally blog at the expense of public exchange.



The characters in movies do not always do what we would do. Sometimes they make choices that offend us. That is their right. It is our right to disagree with them. It is not our right, however, to destroy for others the experience of being as surprised by those choices as we were. A few years ago, I began to notice "spoiler warnings" on Web-based movie reviews -- a shorthand way of informing the reader that a key plot point was about to be revealed. Having heard from more than a few readers accusing me of telling too much of the story, I began using such warnings in my reviews.
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Wikipedia

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