1 (edited by Slider_Quinn21 2018-04-11 14:04:44)

Topic: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

Yesterday, the producers of Westworld trolled some people on Reddit.  If you want the full background, here's an article on it:

http://www.superherohype.com/news/41464 … ans-reddit

What I'd like to talk about is the idea itself.  The letter posted to Reddit actually makes some compelling points.  In a world of crowdsourcing ideas on places like Reddit, harmless theories can actually create massive spoilers.  It's a problem faced by many shows, and it's actually altering the content itself.  Sam Esmail (creator of Mr. Robot) actually de-emphasized a big twist in season two because he figured that people would figure it out before he was ready to unveil it.  He was right: viewers figured out the twist, with the limited knowledge they were given, in the season 2 premiere....five episodes before they were going to reveal the twist.

Westworld itself had a massive twist that was figured out weeks before it was revealed.  And for twists like this, it isn't only online nerds that get it spoiled for them.  I heard the twist from several different people, and I passed it along to many others.  It was a cool twist, and it was fun to talk about with other fans of the show.  One theory spread to many people via many mediums.

And what's interesting is that a theory isn't a spoiler by itself, and it usually isn't treated as such.  If you posit something as "I have an interesting theory about _____" instead of "Hey, this is what I read about ______" then people are apt to believe it.

So what do you do?  Do you alter your content so that mysteries aren't important (see: Star Wars: The Last Jedi vs the mystery boxes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens)?  Or would you actually do something like release the content ahead of time so that spoiler-seekers or curious minds don't ruin things for other people?  The rationale that Game of Thrones book readers didn't spoil the plot for non-readers is true.  Curious non-readers could've easily read the books themselves or read summaries to know what happens to certain characters.  The plot was out there if people wanted to look, and there was no reason to "theorize" what happened (and if one did, there was an easy way to verify).

It was played as a joke by Westworld, but I wonder if the reaction to it (that it was a genius move in a post-Reddit world) might influence other shows to actually go for it?  After all, is it a bad thing to ruin the show for people who want the show ruined?  Especially if, at the same time, you can save big reveals and epic surprises for people who legitimately want to be spoiled?

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

I hate spoilers. As a viewer, I hate being spoiled. I hate going to a supposedly harmless website and seeing some random, big, bold headline that spoils a huge twist for a show. People don't go to theaters as often, and we don't watch shows live as often. The old rule of waiting 24 hours (or whatever) before spoiling a show no longer applies, and yet people are even less likely to use spoiler warnings.

As a writer, spoilers annoy me. I don't care if people figure out the twists. The point of a story is to allow it to be told. Spoiling it in one sloppy sentence is annoying. And people going out of their way to spoil the twist for others (because they want to be the one to deliver the news) aggravates me. Even if you know a twist, you don't know the story. Why not just let people tell their stories?!?!?!?!!?!!!1111

I might have gone a little crazy there.

If people want to release spoilers, or speculate, or talk about already-aired stuff, I guess that's up to whoever is doing it. Whatever happens, I just wish people would respect my decision to actually watch the story. I wish news outlets especially would respect spoilers, because right now, they are the least respectful of them.

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

Well I think that's sorta the plan here, even if it ended up being a joke.  If you just give people the information they want, they won't try and figure it out on their own.  Because people that are trying to "figure out the mystery" are, essentially, trying to spoil it for themselves.  Instead of enjoying the mystery, they're trying to outsmart it.

And since theories are now turning into spoilers, they just want to cut out the middleman in a way.

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

I think we just need to shut down the internet. It was a nice experiment, but ultimately failed. smile

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

I read the title today and thought it sounded too much like a Westworld thread.  Which it obviously isn't.  Changed it smile

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

nothing is new, spoilers have existed on the internet for years.   I'm guessing you weren't around for the drama of the experts sliders website during season 4 and 5.  Their was alot going on and the show was being produced a year ahead for scifi summer.  S o he had all the inside scoop, for year 5 they fed him misinformation that sounded like classic season 3 was returning.  some of it was better than we got on screen some not that far off etc.

But with all the scifi and movies their was tons of info ...i guess the only difference was youtube wasnt big

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

Well, the crux of this post is about how there's spoilers (based on legit set footage, scanned scripts, etc) and crowdsourcing spoilers through theories.  In the late 90s, there wasn't reddit.  The Expert might've had legit spoilers, but everyone knew they were spoilers.  If you didn't want to be spoiled, you didn't have to look.

What's happening now is:

1. A lot of shows/movies are mystery-based.  Back with Sliders, you couldn't spoil yourself with a theory "I think they're going to do an episode where they find Rembrandt's Caddy!" because it wasn't serialized.  Now shows are serialized mystery boxes.

2. There are these massive communities that become spoiler-creating think tanks.  They're efficient enough, as I said, that they can figure out an entire season-long mystery in one night.  And these theories are indistinguishable from spoilers now.  And theories, of course, don't have to be labelled as a spoiler because it isn't concrete.  Not only that, the transfer of information now makes it spread even faster.

One guy can have a theory about the end of Westworld Season 1....it gets spread around Reddit, where tons of evidence supporting it is added....and then someone tweets the abridged version.  Then someone sees it on Twitter and tells a group of friends what they heard.  Now a person is being spoiled by both Reddit and Twitter despite not getting it from Reddit or Twitter.

Obviously there have been spoilers forever, but the way people are being spoiled is changing.  And the idea that the Westworld people had, even though it ended up being a joke, is a creative way to try and deal with that.

Re: How to Deal with Spoilers in Today's World

It could work, I guess. They could even monetize it by releasing novelizations before they release the show itself (for the shows that are filmed well in advance).