I agree that the question content and answers to the question should not tip toe around spoiling the subject of the questions but the title of the question should have some guidance. If I see a Question on a movie that I haven't seen or don't want to know details, I won't open it but it's difficult to miss spoilers when browsing the questions titles.

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    In fact it is already enforced policy that spoilers are not to appear in question titles, as stated in the help center.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Apr 4, 2014 at 23:03
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    Is there a question somewhere in your question? ;D
    – magnattic
    Apr 12, 2014 at 1:07

3 Answers 3


Spoilers in question titles should be avoided wherever possible. This is particularly important for movies that are currently in theaters / cinemas, or even early into their release cycle to other outlets like DVD.

If in doubt about how to phrase a question - say "Possible spoiler question about movie X" would be better than spoiling a current release. Ask people to edit the question to put a better title if necessary if you can't think of a way to ask the question without spoilers.

Once in the question itself, as you say, avoiding spoilers is generally not important.

If there is a movie that you are particularly interested about avoiding spoilers ... then add some "ignored" tags to your profile - these questions will be partially greyed out in the web interface.

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    Just a thought: Ignored tag questions should not show at all. I use them regularly, but the greying out just highlights them even more, because they look different than the rest which naturally attracts the eye.
    – magnattic
    Apr 12, 2014 at 1:09
  • @atticae Meh, I don't think that would be a good idea, since people might still be interested in ignored tags, even if with a lower priority. I for myself ignored every kind of ID-tag, just to easily be able to get a rough approximate of the ratio between rubbish and potentially interesting stuff by a fast look, but this doesn't mean I'll never gonna take a look at those questions. But even if using the ignored tags feature in a more conventional way for e.g. spoiler-prevention, you might still want to know about any new questions on those movies or even take a curious look at some.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Apr 14, 2014 at 15:10
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    @atticae It shouldn't be too hard to not read a greyed-out question if you really fear spoilers. If you still can't help reading them, then you just don't have enough fear of spoilers. Of course nobody can save you from your own couriosity.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Apr 14, 2014 at 15:12
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    @NapoleonWilson People are different, obviously. If I want to ignore content, I don't want to see it and certainly don't want it to clutter up the page. If I want to occasionally take a look at the ignored content anyway, I still can click on the ignored tag on the right side to see all questions with this tag (or just un-ignore it).
    – magnattic
    Apr 14, 2014 at 15:16

We really need no spoilers in the title as the titles show up everywhere on the StackExchange network.

I don't even have to frequent this part of SE (I'm usually on StackOverflow or GameDev) to get title spoilers in the "Hot Network Questions" bar.

The question that brought me here is this one:

Why did Sherlock choose this solution for Magnussen?

  • As can be seen the problem of spoilers in question titles has already been adressed and repeatedly clarified as being discouraged upto prohibited as part of active site policy (a comment or upvote of iandotkelly's answer pointing that out would have sufficed). Yet, nobody can prevent little slips of the rule now and then. So thanks for noticing this particular question title and bringing it to attention. It was even a bigger spoiler originally and has been improved for this reason. Though, seeing that this might not have been sufficient, it was further "despoilered" into its current form.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jun 11, 2014 at 12:41
  • Ok, glad to know. I forget this is still a beta site and doesn't have the massive traffic of SO where things get closed or edited within minutes. :)
    – Almo
    Jun 11, 2014 at 13:28
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    Well, stuff often gets cleaned up quite fast because of the low activity and many avid users keen on improving the site. But I for myself was content with the title and didn't find it too spoilery. But after you mentioned it, I agree that it still revealed way too much.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jun 11, 2014 at 13:30
  • Good point! I do hope this site makes it out of beta, as I think it's a very good subject for an SE site. Unlike Travel, which seems filled with questions and answers that will be useless a year or two after posting.
    – Almo
    Jun 11, 2014 at 13:31
  • It will most probably. And I'm glad you're interested in the site and can contribute some interesting questions and answers in the future.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jun 11, 2014 at 13:33

Here is how I handle spoilers, and I think this could be a general guideline:

  • Don't spoiler in the question title. If you think something in your question could be a spoiler, try to find a creative way to paraphrase it in a more general way for the title and go into more detail in the question body. A common example is "What happens at the end of XY" instead of "Why did character A kill character B in the end of XY". This is a slippery slope of course, because we want question titles that are as significant and expressive as possible, but I think keeping spoilers out of them where possible is just good sportsmanship between movies and TV geeks.

  • If possible, don't spoil in the first sentence. Not as hard a rule as the above, but because the Newest Questions overview shows a preview of the first two lines of the question, it is appreciated if you don't spoil right in the first few words. An introductory sentence giving a context to your question is always a good idea anyway, so this should not be to hard to do.

  • If it spoils the ending, use the tag. Seeing this tag should be a warning for everyone who has not seen the movie/show yet.

If everyone follows these simple guidelines, I think we could browse this site pretty much free of involuntary spoilers.

Here is an exemplary question of mine where I applied those personal guidelines: Was the ending to "How I Met Your Mother" planned from the start?

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