A Spoiler Society

Internet Culture in many different ways has been built with spoilers in mind.  Spoilers being the reveal of content or secrets in a work that could potential ruin surprises for consumers that have yet to reach that scene or moment. Spoilers is nothing new or unique to the Internet community, in high school I remember a substitute teacher spoiling the death of a character in Harry Potter a literal five pages before I reached that scene. Though spoilers are not unique to Internet culture, they are something that has been built into the culture.

The term “spoiler alert” is very common online and has been entered into the language of the digital realm. One of the very interesting considerations for spoilers can be found in digital forums. Many forums have developed a spoiler-conscious atmosphere, creating a system where forum posts can be tagged as “spoilers” or “spoiler free” and within forum posts and responses and even deeper level of precaution is set up with hidden posts, which allow users to type something in, label it as a spoiler and hide it within their posts, so if others users want to see it they must click on it which eliminates potential accidental-spoilers.

In direct contradiction to this some forum sites such as Twitter of 4Chan have built a reputation for users who talk about spoilers openly while the events are still playing out. Meaning anyone who is not perfectly up to date are potential spoiler victims. This has created a whole different culture of spoiler-fear in which people will hide from the internet to avoid spoilers for books and television shows that they have not gotten around to finishing. This notion has been parodied by popular YouTubers, The Fine Bros in their series in which they attempt to spoil as many films/books/television shows as possible.

This focus on spoilers in the digital realm is most likely because of the ease of communication and how quickly information can pass.  People have become aware of the fact that they are constantly interacting with strangers who can’t be trusted to keep certain things secret or simply don’t know what other users don’t know and thus a culture of people who dance around spoilers.

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One thought on “A Spoiler Society

  1. I think you make a great point when you note that:

    Many forums have developed a spoiler-conscious atmosphere, creating a system where forum posts can be tagged as “spoilers” or “spoiler free” and within forum posts and responses and even deeper level of precaution is set up with hidden posts, which allow users to type something in, label it as a spoiler and hide it within their posts, so if others users want to see it they must click on it which eliminates potential accidental-spoilers.

    Do you have any thoughts about how this might connect to Jenkins’s discussion of fan culture and/or affinity groups more generally? Just curious.

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