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Spoilers are pretty essential to a site like this, but as a new-ish user, I have no idea how to put them in. I feel like there should be a spoiler button on the input box, next to the quote button, and probably replacing the code button.

There's a precedent for this on SE - the UX site has a special button for wireframe mockups, and stackoverflow has a special button for code demos.


As an experienced SE user who is comfortable with code, I know that I could either:

  1. Browse until I find a question containing a spoiler (harder than it sounds)
  2. Hit the "edit" button
  3. See what code is used for the spoiler
  4. Memorise it
  5. Correctly type it

...or...

  1. Ask on meta
  2. Memorise the answer
  3. Correctly type it

These are all things that I could do easily, as a longstanding SE user with well above average computer skills. But putting spoilers in questions and answers should be something all users can do.

This isn't a site for coders, and there's no reason why a top movies.SE user couldn't be someone who would struggle to find the < key on their keyboard or tablet, let alone memorise which set of funny-looking characters marks text as a spoiler and which order they have to go in.


Update: So it seems that the site has a problem where sometimes there are waves of people over-using spoiler tags. To be honest I'm not surprised - if it's semi-official and the only way to use it is to copy what other questions and answers do, when some people over-use it, others will too. A button won't solve that, but buttons have tooltips and can show messages. If overuse is a serious problem, a spoiler button could pop up a message the first time a user uses it, saying what the policy is.

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    No. No. No. No. No. The only requirement is that spoilers not be in the question title. There is no policy for hiding "spoilers" in either question bodies or in answers. – Catija May 30 '15 at 21:00
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    We generally don't encourage spoiler markup because of what I said above... I think having a spoiler button would only make people more likely to use it. – Catija May 30 '15 at 21:04
  • Here's a meta question that addresses over-use of spoiler markup. – Catija May 30 '15 at 21:06
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    Hmm, I kinda feel like you should either have spoiler markup, or not have it... Having it but hiding it seems conflicted...? If there was a spoiler button, you could advise correct usage on the tooltip, or with a notice popup when the button is used. If spoiler tags are like the sites' dirty little secret, I feel it's not surprising if new users don't know how to use them properly. – user568458 May 30 '15 at 21:09
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    Every site has spoiler markup... none have a button, that I know of.. certainly the ones that I think would use it the most (IMHO) don't... that is, Arqade, Anime and Sci-Fi. – Catija May 30 '15 at 21:11
  • As opposed to markup, I'd much prefer some sort of 'spoiler flag'. That way I could choose not to look at it at all. I think the way some of the meta tags are handled (like 'status-complete') would be a possible solution so you could just go ahead and tag your question with 'spoiler' and that would appear highlighted on the list of questions. – DA. Jun 13 '15 at 23:55
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I know it can be frustrating to not know the code for something and want to use it. Unfortunately, we strongly discourage the use of spoiler markup, in general, and your assertion that "spoilers are essential" is completely wrong.

As a new user, we wouldn't necessarily expect you to be aware of this but here is our policy on spoilers, as found on our Help page:

Please note that spoilers are allowed here and may be out in the open. Read at your own risk.

The use of spoiler markup should be kept to a minimum, or not used at all if it is clear what Movie or TV Show is being discussed in the question. Use common sense and apply spoiler markup to cover only aspects of your post that you would think might be unexpected, such as references to other movies.

Spoiler tags will be deleted from questions as nearly every question reveals details about a movie or TV show.

Technically, we reserve this right but we rarely act upon it. Many questions include some amount of spoiler markup but we will remove it if we deem it unnecessary.

While we encourage you to be aware of spoilers in our questions, we make every effort to remove spoilers from Question Titles which is one part of the site that does not have mark-up capabilities and is out in the open. Also, please refer to this meta post on how to keep specific tags from your view.

Some other resources:

  • How to deal with spoilers?

    • We don't like spoiler markup. Spoilers for newly released movies is a moving target and at the end of the day somebody has to remove them when they're no longer a spoiler. Wait - what? They're always a spoiler for people who've not seen the movie? Oh right... [...] At the end of the day, we're a site about the contents of movies and TV shows, expect our questions to be about the contents of movies and TV shows.
  • Are we overusing the spoiler markup?

    • Some people are overusing the spoiler markup. I don't know how else to say it ... it gets in the way of reading the question and answers. It is irritating.

Adding a button to the formatting list would only make people more likely to use it. Personally, I'd rather someone was unaware spoiler markup was possible than put it out there for everyone to see and end up up to my ears in spoilers we had to delete.

By the way, the simplest way to find markup is to click the "formatting help" button on any "Ask a Question" page, where you can simply copy and paste the code... but >! is pretty easy to remember.

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Just to add a little bit more information, one of the big reasons we avoid using the spoiler markup as much as possible is using it makes the site a lot more difficult to use. Imagine if every other question has spoiler mark-up in it, and the only way to see the text is to highlight it. So for those questions, in order to read them, you have to mouse over different parts of the question. It may seem trivial, but if you're a user the frequents the site it'd grow old very fast.

Another very good reason is that it breaks up the flow of the question. There are some funky things you have to do if you want more than one spoiler tag in your question.

  • You can have more than one spoiler block in a question (and in fact there are millions of examples where there's more than one spoiler block, usually separated by one-liners, those are the worst). What you can't have, I think, is a paragraph break inside a spoiler block (which might be the reason people intersperse them with stupid one-liners). – Napoleon Wilson Jun 13 '15 at 0:27
  • @NapoleonWilson heh, that's even worse IMHO. – DForck42 Jun 13 '15 at 0:34
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    Indeed "In Game of Thrones epsiode 3 <big empty block> when he actually <big empty block> and we know <big emppty block> So my questions is <big empty block>". A sheer pleasure. ;-) – Napoleon Wilson Jun 13 '15 at 0:36

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