some guy (self) wrote,
some guy

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** Spoiler Warning ** (No Spoilers)

So, there's a handful of websites which have gained quite a following in recent years by reporting "spoilers" to the fan community. In a nutshell, these sites exist to reveal upcoming plot twists before the episodes in question air. They've always been a sore spot for some -- Fair warning is given on the websites themselves, lest someone wander in by mistake, but the spoilers inevitably spread to outside forums, ruining things for those who didn't actively seek out this information.

Anyway, that's the center of the latest Big Internet Controversy -- TV studios have begun shutting those sites down.

The arguments I've been reading boil down to:
    It's about time. Trying to avoid spoilers has meant isolating myself from the community, and I shouldn't have to do that.

    Spoilers are inevitable, and you can't stop their distribution. Speculating on how the episode will actually play out is half the experience for us! This is clearly a first amendment violation -- who do they think they are, telling us what we can and can't talk about?

I expect my views will be vastly unpopular. So, let's have at 'em:
  1. Not knowing exactly what will happen does not preclude you from speculating on what will happen.

    It's called extrapolating -- you've seen what's aired, have you not? Well, what would happen next if you were on the writing staff?

    Discuss at length -- it's actually a much more rewarding game, and one I don't think you'll see studio resistance to*.
    *Until you express your speculation as FanFic anyway, but that's a whole other discussion.

  2. The show's creators structure each episode to present it's information in whatever order they feel will best enhance the overall experience. It's not for you or I to decide whether to undermine those efforts, even if we feel we're doing them a favor.

    It's not about ratings or money so much as quality control. Your desire for spoilers does not automatically entitle you to them, and there is something to be said for protecting you from yourself.

    Those creators whose work would be diminished should be in control of what's released ahead of time* -- if they want spoilers out there for any reason, they can reveal those themselves in published interviews or through official channels.
    *This also extends to trailers and promotional materials -- writers and directors need to outrank the marketing department on those decisions, as a matter of consumer protection.

  3. These spoilers got out either because someone violated their non-disclosure agreement, or because someone gained access to a satelite feed not intended for them. Either way, legal intervention is appropriate.

    The intellectual property you're passing around is stolen. You're actively participating in an act of theft.

  4. While this move doesn't prevent spoilers from spreading, it is much easier to bury those in a sea of false rumors once you eliminate the trusted distribution centers.

    This perhaps satisfies everyone -- you can speculate on how each rumor would play out, but still be guaranteed a few surprises.

I won't pretend to be innocent -- I've sought out spoilers myself. Does this invalidate everything I'm saying? Not at all. Because I also acknowledge I was cheating the system. I was in the wrong, and it won't be the last time.

But the fun of that goes away when you make it too easy. =)
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