I randomly got caught up in two different conversations about spoilers fairly recently, and I started wondering what people’s guidelines are for spoilers.
For me personally, I try not to discuss major plot points on Facebook or Twitter (or in my book reviews) but if I do, I put the “spoiler alert” warning so that people can decide whether to read or not.
But I guess the question I really mean is, how much of it is the early watcher’s responsibility (being good citizens and not ruining things for other people) and how much of it is the late watcher’s responsibility (watching things in a timely fashion and/or staying off social media for high-discussion shows)?
I am able to watch many of the shows I watch live (since most of them seem to air on Thursdays and Sundays, two nights I am typically at home). A big exception for this is American Horror Story, which airs Wednesday night. (Also Nashville and Bates Motel.) So for those, I tend to watch them the next morning so that I am less likely to see spoiler alerts.
But sometimes I come to shows late. (I am currently watching Downton Abbey and just finished Scandal.) Both of those shows are pretty high-interest (Scandal especially) and I definitely think the burden is on me to avoid as much as I can about those shows and be as spoiler-free as humanly possible.
With movies, I think it’s different. A friend’s ex once got upset because she made some reference to the end of Fight Club and he hadn’t seen it. This was probably a good decade at least after the movie came out, and it’s even on one of those shirts that lists all the different major spoilers in movies (“Bruce Willis is dead the whole time,” for example, and “Soylent Green is people!”). I mean, yes, no one has seen all the movies and I see old movies for the first time on a fairly regular basis (true story: until last month, I had never seen Point Break!) so yes, it would kind of suck if someone had ruined that for me. But at the same time, I am of the opinion that if seeing this movie or that TV show or reading that book is of huge importance to you, so important that spoilers would make you HULK SMASH all over the place, it’s definitely on you to make sure you do it in a timely fashion. I was willing to wait something like 22 years to see Point Break, but I read the Hunger Games books on the days they came out.
What do you think? When is it absolutely safe to discuss something?