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This question is about asking how to make spoilers easier to markup: Can we have a spoiler button?

I'm a fan of movies and, as such, tend to appreciate spoiler markup. But it seems that it not what we want to encourage here.

As an alternative suggestion, what about a spoiler tag? I noticed on META, certain tags get higlighted with color and stick out quite nicely. Perhaps we could do that with a 'spoiler' tag.

The drawback is that, like spoiler markup, it could be over-used. And I don't have an easy solution to that. But it may be less intrusive than actual spoiler markup.

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    I'm not clear on how spoiler markup is intrusive to begin with? – Johnny Bones Jun 14 '15 at 1:10
  • @JohnnyBones I think the consensus is that it's just over-used. – DA. Jun 14 '15 at 4:26
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    Technically, every question would be tagged "spoiler". It's a pointless tag. – Catija Jun 14 '15 at 15:54
  • @Catija I think the only way to make it work would be something like a time-expiring tag. So if it's a film out in theaters, that's when it would make sense. But that's likely a technical hurdle that SE wouldn't want to undertake. – DA. Jun 14 '15 at 17:01
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    Or, people should just realize that this site contains spoilers and that (with the exception of titles) they browse at their own risk... – Catija Jun 14 '15 at 17:06
  • @DA. But what time should it expire? I've never seen The Sixth Sense, and I don't want it get spoiled. Either you want to protect the users from spoilers or you don't. Protecting them only if the go to see every movie in the first release month seems not beneficial for that goal at all. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 14 '15 at 18:21
  • @NapoleonWilson The problem I see is wanting to partake in a web site about films, but not being able to see every film on opening day. I agree, when it should expire would be tricky and mostly arbitrary. I was thinking maybe it'd apply to a question with spoilers for only 1 month beyond release date. But that certainly wouldn't fix your example where you maybe never got around to seeing a film. It'd only fix a subset of 'current' films. I think that is beneficial to an extent but not any sort of magic bullet. – DA. Jun 14 '15 at 18:33
  • @DA. "The problem I see is wanting to partake in a web site about films, but not being able to see every film on opening day." - But that problem is non-existent if you're not inclined to read every question about the movie when not having seen it. And if you are, then spoilers are obviously not a problem to you. A spoiler tag doesn't solve that, since noone says a question without it doesn't contain spoilers (let alone the answers the question isn't even aware of yet). All I'm not getting is why people can't just simply not read questions about Age of Ultron's plot if they're afraid. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 14 '15 at 18:36
  • @DA. Using the spoiler tag for filtering and ignoring doesn't help either, since you obviously don't fear all spoilers but only those about the movies you haven't seen. So you clearly have to look at the movie tags anyway. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 14 '15 at 18:39
  • @NapoleonWilson that's an excellent point...a spoiler tag wouldn't really make any sense for filtering. – DA. Jun 14 '15 at 19:52
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No, it wouldn't!

First of all, while I don't have as narrow a view about tagging as SE seems to have and don't value the "meta tag" term they coined as much as other people, this tag would clearly be a "meta tag". It doesn't say anything about the question asked and merely says "it could contain spoilers". But you know what, that's what the whole site already says. A question about Jurassic World and its story does naturally contain spoilers about the movie. So when the question has the tag jurassic-world, you most probably run the risk of spoilers in it (even more so if it has the plot-explanation tag).

Which brings us to another important problem. It is unclear when to use that tag at all. First of all, what is a spoiler is absolutely not clearly definable in any way and is completely up to subjective opinion. But even worse, you want to use it for the purpose of directly marking spoilers, but for this purpose it is completely useless, since such a tag is bound to be used entirely incoherently and inconsistently. There is absolutely no guarantee that a question without that tag does not contain any spoilers, nor that a question with that tag does contain any spoilers. This makes its use lose any practical value and robs it of the single purpose you want to introduce it for.

  • I agree. While I think it's a good idea, there's this huge nebulous issue of when to use it vs. not, and I'm not sure I have a good answer to that. – DA. Jun 14 '15 at 4:25
  • The Death of Meta Tags – Robert Cartaino Jun 15 '15 at 17:34
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    Could not agree more. I am also much more relaxed about tagging than some people - but a spoiler tag has no value on this site IMHO. – iandotkelly Jun 15 '15 at 22:05

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