Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Why people who don't post spoiler warnings are the worst

It's going to be a ranty day.

Spoilers are the bane of the average geek's existence. They are potentially lurking around every corner, sometimes making it necessary to avoid entire corners of the internet after a huge reveal in any book, movie, or TV show - and sometimes these formats overlap, which makes it even harder.

In a lot of cases it's totally reasonable to expect others to avoid spoilers when it comes to entertainment news outlets, hashtags, etc. I understand that sometimes spoilers happen in the entertainment world. That's a given. When The Force Awakens came out, I avoided any mention of Star Wars until I was able to see the movie in theaters.

But you know when it isn't reasonable to expect people to avoid spoilers? When I'm reading reviews and spoiler tags exist. Or when I'm browsing your blog's headlines. Or when I'm looking at a business account on Instagram that has nothing to do with the giant spoiler that everyone's talking about (we'll come back to this one). These are all times when I shouldn't have to expect a massive spoiler to be waiting to strike.

This is called common courtesy. Let me provide you with an example.

From my review of Confess by Colleen Hoover:

All I'm saying is... it's not difficult to not be a jerk to your readers. I feel like there is a kind of understanding among book bloggers to not post spoilers without a spoiler warning. And I love each and every one of you for it. So how do you react whenever you do come across a major spoiler that you really could not have reasonably avoided?

I'm sure you're wondering what has caused this post to appear on my blog. Well, friend, let me share with you the experience I had just a couple days ago.

Shocking, right? Anyway.

Unless you live under a rock, you are familiar with Game of Thrones. You may not watch or read it, but you're familiar with it. A new episode aired on Sunday night and there was a MAJOR new development. To be fair, Entertainment Weekly spoiled it the next day, but they're Entertainment Weekly. I would expect spoilers on their social media pages. Where I would NOT expect this kind of a spoiler literally hours after the episode aired is on the business Instagram account for a book subscription box. Which is obviously where I found it.

As I was browsing through the Bookstagram accounts I follow, including several amazing subscription box accounts, I came across a photo with the aforementioned major spoiler in giant bold letters on the photo itself. This was not Entertainment Weekly's IG account. It was not the IG account of some Game of Thrones fan page. This was an account for a fairly new bookish subscription service.

Even more incredible than the spoiler itself was the attitude of the original poster, who insisted that it was her page and, by God, she could post whatever she wanted and anyone who didn't like it could unfollow!

Click for larger, clearer image! (Don't worry, no spoilers!)

As you can see from the conversation, this bookish account was totally unapologetic about the fact that she had posted a major spoiler, even discounting the fact that one follower said the show hadn't even aired in her country yet! Eventually the post was taken down after several people unfollowed and/or stated that they would not be purchasing future boxes, not based on the spoiler, but based on the attitude of the original poster.

This could have very easily been avoided had the photo itself not been a spoiler and the post included a SPOILER WARNING somewhere at the beginning, which is what I have come to expect from all of you fine people.

It isn't often that I share my possibly unpopular opinions outright without just calling for a discussion in the comments, but today I think I've made it plain. If you are a book blogger or bookish business and you post major spoilers (especially when it literally just happened) for any form of entertainment - a book, a movie, a TV show, a video game, etc. - and you do not post a spoiler warning, I basically think you suck.

Again, this isn't aimed at any major entertainment outlet or website that regularly posts recaps. I didn't go searching #GameOfThrones. This was on a Bookstagram account - one that makes money off of book nerds.

Although you know my opinion, I'm curious to hear yours! Do you think spoiler warnings are common courtesy? Is it totally rude not to warn people before posting major spoilers? Or is it everyone else's responsibility to shield themselves from the internet as a whole?

Let me know in the comments!