For games, like movies or books, one of the worst things that can happen to you is that they spoil details of the story or even the finale.

How do we behave with questions/answers that reveal spoilers?

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Good point, I wonder if @Jeff would want to implement a [spoiler][/spoiler] markup –  Ivo Flipse Jul 7 '10 at 20:06
    
Keep in mind that stackexchange runs off the same software as all the other Stack sites. Also, there will be potentially hundreds or more active stackexchange sites which have no concept of a "spoiler" or even a need for one. So to expect the developers to add such functionality specifically for this site is presumptuous. Appropriate solutions for this must make use of the tools we are provided. –  hobodave Jul 7 '10 at 21:31
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@ivo - +1 great idea. @hobo the platform will need to be flexible enough to support the communities that use it. –  Antony Jul 8 '10 at 2:16
    
@ivo I like it. –  user59 Jul 8 '10 at 8:53
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@hobodave I agree that maintain the same software for all Stack sites will help developers. But I think that the success of a website is reached also through small details like this. –  user59 Jul 8 '10 at 8:54
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@hobodave In the comments box of almost every answer here you really overestimate how hard it is to add such a tag. Who cares if the functionality is in Stack Overflow or another site anyway, if it's not going to be used. –  user56 Jul 10 '10 at 14:45
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This is an open feature-request on meta.so. –  Larry Wang Aug 24 '10 at 1:41
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9 Answers

I think we need a spoiler extension to Markdown.

Similar to how the jsMath piece works on MathOverflow.net

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See comment to others. –  hobodave Jul 7 '10 at 21:32
    
Perhaps @Jeff or @Robert can comment on the possibilities for this? –  Ivo Flipse Jul 12 '10 at 18:29
    
What about the title? –  ripper234 Aug 19 '10 at 5:10
    
This has been posted as a [feature-request] here on meta.gaming.se. The meta.so [feature-request] is here. –  Larry Wang Aug 26 '10 at 22:43
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No spoilers in the title plus [spoiler] tags. Rot13 the comment text if you really want to?

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I think rot13 might be a bit excessive, and a hindrance to non-technically inclined users. –  hobodave Jul 7 '10 at 19:45
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The question preview displays 2 lines of text though. Wouldn't there have to be another rule that the question itself can't have spoilers in the first few lines? –  Brandon Jul 7 '10 at 19:56
    
If it specifically says "SPOILERS" in the title, I think having a spoiler in a mouse-over is still acceptable. –  Jeffrey Jul 7 '10 at 20:07
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@Jeffrey, I mean in the Questions -> Newest/Hot/Votes/Active section. Not the home page. –  Brandon Jul 7 '10 at 20:09
    
@monorailkitty sorry for the ignorance but what is Rot13? –  user59 Jul 11 '10 at 14:19
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@marco.ragogna Rotate 13, you rotate each character by 13 alphabet places. A becomes N, B becomes O, etc etc. –  Noctrine Jul 13 '10 at 18:36
    
having a spoiler tag is enough, as users can add his to to their ignored tags, also, the front page doesn't how those two lines, so no loss there too. –  alexanderpas Jul 13 '10 at 20:18
    
@Noctrine oh thank you :) never heard before –  user59 Jul 13 '10 at 20:26
    
Isn't the use of spoiler as a tag too meta, and an abuse of the tagging system? blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags –  Zoredache Nov 1 '10 at 20:39
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I'm not sure a tag will cover everything. Sometimes a question might not ask for a spoiler, but an answer will provide one.

I would love to see a spoiler formatting option in mark down. Perhaps this would just display a "spoiler" link that would reveal the text when clicked on.

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I don't think it would be excessive for markdown to support a simple spoiler link. Certainly a number of forum software supports this interface with success. –  tzenes Jul 7 '10 at 20:02
    
Keep in mind that stackexchange runs off the same software as all the other Stack sites. Also, there will be potentially hundreds or more active stackexchange sites which have no concept of a "spoiler" or even a need for one. So to expect the developers to add such functionality specifically for this site is presumptuous. Appropriate solutions for this must make use of the tools we are provided. –  hobodave Jul 7 '10 at 21:32
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It could be easily done in jQuery, loads of other sites have done it. They added the logo and custom CSS, 3 extra lines of Javascript isn't going to take a lot of effort –  Chris S Jul 7 '10 at 22:16
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Why not do similar to what TVTropes does, and have markup that will change the text to the same color as the background, with a dotted box around it? The user then highlights over the text to see what was hidden. This will allow for in-line spoilers.

(If you haven't used the site, try here for an example; look at the bulleted point for "Strong Bad's Cool Game", 4th bullet from last)

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I think a spoiler tag is sufficient for questions. If an answer includes a spoiler though, perhaps a first-line attention grabber such as:

Spoiler Within

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I wouldn't like having to add that to an answer –  jmfsg Jul 7 '10 at 20:10
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I like the idea of a [spoiler] tag, but I'd like to point out that the first sentence or two shows up under the question title in the "latest questions" views. Maybe a customization should be built to prevent showing that preview for posts with the spoiler tag?

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Or we put a note in the FAQ to remind people not to put spoilers in the title or first paragraph. –  ChrisF Jul 7 '10 at 21:23
    
Keep in mind that stackexchange runs off the same software as all the other Stack sites. Also, there will be potentially hundreds or more active stackexchange sites which have no concept of a "spoiler" or even a need for one. So to expect the developers to add such functionality specifically for this site is presumptuous. Appropriate solutions for this must make use of the tools we are provided. –  hobodave Jul 7 '10 at 21:30
    
@hobo: However, there are many more sites that could use the idea of a spoiler. Most forum software supports such a tag, because it is such a universal concept. –  John Gietzen Jul 8 '10 at 21:08
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Another vote for spoiler tags... adding them wouldn't necessarily even involve mucking with Markdown, though. How about a JS-based solution like the one used by Jay is Games?

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Spoiler tags are good, but it should also be possible to have questions flagged for spoilers. I've seen questions with spoilers in the title. You can't unsee them, but flagging them (and kicking them back to the asker for a better title) would help fewer people see them.

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For now, feel free to flag such questions for moderator attention. That way, if no one else gets to it first, then we will be quite swift in handling it. Make sure, though, that you clearly point out which part is the spoiler when you write the message. –  Grace Note Aug 27 '10 at 10:32
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We should relax about spoilers. Reader beware! Spoier is about providing unasked for (and usually out of context of the conversation) information. How can answering a question on Q&A site be spoiling?

Most people will arrive to the site (via Google) looking for a spoiler. Those who are afraid of spoilers will not come. Those in between should go to excellent http://www.game-hints.com/

Avoiding spoilers is just too much work. Look at this excellent question (and answer). Did you look at the title and go: "Oh, the warden is going to be caged?" How do you avoid a spoiler in such a title w/o ruining the question?

Even if we had a spoiler formatting option, using it may be bad idea. Most forums have it, but most users have no idea how to use it, and never do. StackExchange tries to make contributing as easy as possible, spoiler formatting option erects an unnecessary barrier.

Whatever clever system we invent will probably be lost on newcomers, and they are always in majority. Do we want to spend our time fixing their mistakes? Do you care enough to insert thousands of spoiler tags for them? Because if we make it a policy, someone has to do that tedious work.

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One of the worst things for me are the spoilers. Movies, books or videogames are the same. I don't like to know the end of a game, or if a certain player will dead or will survive, or if a friend will betray you, etc. etc. –  user59 Jul 12 '10 at 15:59
    
Spoiler alert: The friend will ALWAYS betray you in a video game, either by malice or incompetence. =) –  JohnFx Jul 28 '10 at 15:43
    
I think 'spoiler' in this context doesn't simply mean something the asker doesn't know, but something that a gamer would not know without getting to point X in the game, and something that could change the gamer's experience if known in advance. Yes, it's work to avoid displaying spoilers, but it's not unlike proper tagging or question creation ... perhaps lots of work for a single person, which is why the work is distributed among several (or many). –  Dave DuPlantis Apr 19 '11 at 21:18
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