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I am now currently watching "Lost" the TV series, and even though I am inclined to read more about "Lost" related questions on this site so that I can have a better understanding of the episode I've watched, I can't, and I don't dare. This is because from my past experience with other series, there are a lot of Q&A which contain a lot of spoilers. People may not mean it when they ask and answer questions, but sometimes spoilers just slip through.

How can we minimize or avoid this kind of scenario?

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I don't think there is anything we can do about that. The Lost finale was back in 2010, when you go online and read up on Lost topics you get yourself in dangerous waters, because sooner or later you will see a spoiler.

Use of spoiler markup is mostly a courtesy on this site. We discourage spoilers in titles and there is the tag for content related to movie endings and TV show finales, but that's about it.

The reason is that trying to avoid spoilers everywhere at all costs will with certainty decrease the content quality as well as the ease of finding relevant content.

Think of this site like of a wiki. You probably would not be surprised if you found spoilers while reading the Wikipedia entry of Lost either.

My advice would be to finish the show, then come back here and ask away.

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To be honest, in this scenario I would strongly recommend blocking all tags to do with your question until you have caught up with the TV series. I think this is just common sense.

I do think spoiler tags can be useful and if the community deems them vital so be it. But ultimately questions are often asked on this site where this is simply no way to answer without revealing huge parts of the story. As this is a Q and A site, not a forum, I think this is perfectly acceptable. We have people who ask questions about films that they have seen at premieres and which aren't even in the cinema for general screening yet! I think trying to protect all of these questions from spoilers would be far too much work.

I suppose my final note would be to have patience in some issues, concentrate on the show and save the questions for later. There are a large number of questions I've answered on this site where someone has asked a question after a season or two of a show that is explicitly explained and reasoned perhaps three or four seasons in. Again, there's no way to answer this without spoiling - but if the person just persisted with the show, they'd get the answer any way.

Ultimately, my view on this is that I'm happy to move to a spoiler-free zone if the community desires it, but I think it would be very to hard to moderate and maintain and thus, given the Q and A status of the site, it should be accepted that spoilers are out in the open here.

  • Whilst I'm not sure we want a 'spoiler free' website, I think we need to excercise discretion with certain content, depending on the circumstances. If content has been widely available for some time, the onus is on the User: as you say, common sense. However, some people can feel perturbed if they are forced out of the conversation, particularily of its a recent or ongoing content. There needs to be room for discretion on this, and we have to be careful not to force spoilers onto people that haven't asked for them. – John Smith Optional Apr 23 '14 at 10:26
  • @JohnSmithOptional I have yet to see an example where this is not already done on the site. I think we are pretty careful with spoilers already and don't force them on anyone where not necessary to preserve quality. – magnattic Apr 23 '14 at 22:29
  • @atticae, clearly you've been missing out today's fruitful debate about spoilers! see this meta for examples! ;) – John Smith Optional Apr 23 '14 at 22:49
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    True, I did miss that. The GoT example in there really is an unlucky case. I like to think that most of the time people already use the spoiler tag with common sense here though. – magnattic Apr 23 '14 at 23:12

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