Technically, does that count as putting a tag in the title? ♪ I mean, beyond the actual literal tag in the title.
Jeff consulted me to bring up this subject on Meta in advance. spoiler is, by many means, a terrible tag. There are a number of reasons for this.
It's an actual meta-tag. That is, its purpose is to describe attributes of the question rather than the problem in the question. The elements themselves in the games are not spoilers - it's the unleashing of their existence to the unknowing public that makes them spoilers. And that is purely contained within the text on the site.
The purpose is conflicting with the entirety of the tag base. Also explained in the previous discussion, a tag whose sole purpose is to be ignored is unexpected and confusing. Seeing as it lacks all the other utility which a flag is meant to possess, it just is a poor fit in the tag base.
Consequent of the above, it is also not very well known that it is used for this purpose. There are only 28 users across the site who have the tag ignored. New users rarely know about the ignored tag feature, fewer still know how to hide them. We don't advertise this fact, and I've mentioned this. The purpose of the tag only comes up whenever someone asks about it. We never teach anyone, which leads both to its lack of use, and the abuse that I'll discuss in points 5 and 6.
Excepting spoilers inside the title, the existence of the tag is moot. We have spoiler syntax in posts to handle everything outside the title.
The vast majority of the ~300 questions marked with the tag don't have a spoiler in the title. See the following examples:
- What's the effect of winning the Civil War?
- Do weapons have level-dependent unique item stats? When to pick them up?
- Why is there a helicopter flying over Arkham City?
- How am I supposed to kill the final boss on the Deus Ex difficulty?
This is how the majority look. Titles for spoiler questions follow a couple different formulas in general: what happens after X, does X exist, and how do I do X. Very few go about revealing dangerous details, and very few actually lose anything in their titles to accomplish this deed. The largest defense of this tag's existence has been to allow freedom in titles, but in many cases, the freedom isn't exercised largely because it is unnecessary. The titles remain concrete and identifiable.
As such, the majority of questions with this tag are identifying content inside the posts. Content that can be hidden by the aforementioned spoiler syntax if it isn't clear from the title that it contains spoilers.
On top of point 5, whether or not the majority of these classify as spoilers is extremely subjective. Namely, the degree of what counts. The full gamut of questions ranges from questions about how to fight final bosses and about endings or important plot points, to the location of items in early game dungeons and what rewards are for quests. Extended logically, we're hitting every boss fight, item strategy, dungeon help, puzzle solving... well, logically extended we're hitting the entire content of the site. Which, actually, isn't all that surprising - the entire point of the site hinges on giving people information prior to their in-game discovery.
We don't have a strong metric for determining what is truly "spoiler" worthy, but a lot of metrics we could make, there's a much better tag. endings if you're discussion ending stuff, boss-fights for how to fight bosses (final or otherwise). There's always just a better tag, that most importantly isn't a meta tag.
This actually stacks on point 4 in a different direction than the previous two. Which is, even if people did wisen up and use this to allow a freedom of identifying spoilers properly and only in titles, we're hosing the anonymous visitors if we practice that. Remember, tag preferences only exist for users of the site. If we allow spoilers in title just to allow this kind of tag, we'll spit on the faces of passerby visitors who are bombarded with front pages that may have spoiler titles. It's counter-productive if the intent is to allow people to avoid spoilers if we're going to do it in a way that encourages it being shoved into the faces of the majority of our traffic.
The tag is bad, its purpose is narrow and dangerous, and furthermore it's not even consistently used due to a lack of education about it. If we want to prevent spoiling information, we should have clean titles and use the syntax that we ended pushing into existence. Using the tag system simply isn't going to work.