Spoilers in Books: A Discussion.

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Dimesdan, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    I guess spoilers are like beauty or being offended and is in the eye of the beholder, what I may find beautiful, inoffensive or unspoilery, others will find ugly, offensive or spoilery.

    So what to you is a spoiler, when do you think the line changes between a perfectly fine plot detail that can be openly discussed and the point of discussing it, would ruin the enjoyment of yourself?

    Does the magical line occur for you? A few days after the release of the book, a month, six months, a year, a decade or two or should say, something like Darth Vader being Lukes father in Star Wars be always considered a spoiler even though that occurred before I was born?

    My personal opinion is, the longer out from an event, the less spoilery I consider it, say the events of The Eternal Tide or last years DRGIII Typhon Pact duology I wouldn't as they were out a year ago, but say books like Birth of the Federation, I would be more cautious in discussing without considering spoiler tags.
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I'd slap a one-year-from-time-of-publication time limit rule on mandatory spoiler tagging.
     
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    It's hard to make a general rule of thumb.

    A problem that will sometimes happen on TrekBBS is where a reader will ask about a particular older title, or mention that they are about to read it for the first time, and someone will chime in with a massive spoiler before that newbie had a chance to read it. Then there will be outcry and sympathy, and the public defense is usually "But it's been out for decades!"

    Similarly, some novels have crucial spoilers that don't necessarily sound like spoilers, and it can be dangerous for people who haven't actually read those books to discuss them without innocently revealing things they've "heard".
     
  4. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, if someone makes a thread about the Destiny trilogy and specifically mentions that they haven't read it (just to pick an example), I imagine most folks would try hard not to spoil the books for that person. That having been said, accidents do happen, especially if the thread goes more than a page or so - it's unfortunate but not always avoidable. This especially applies to novels such as The Eternal Tide which are almost impossible to discuss without spoiling the novel for new readers.

    It's always a good idea to bear in mind that, no matter how familiar you may be with something, there's always going to be someone out there who isn't familiar with it. I managed to keep my kids spoiler-free on the subject of Darth Vader's true identity (and Luke's parentage) until I felt they were old enough to sit through the saga a few years ago. They knew there was a character named Darth Vader but they had NO idea who he really was until watching Episode III. That was fun :)
     
  5. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Nice going, Garrovick!

    Okay, mod chime-in on the topic. For standard discussions, once the book's been out six months, it doesn't need spoiler-coding UNLESS it's in a thread where the opening poster has stated they haven't read the book yet.

    By extension, anything less that six months needs to be coded UNLESS it's in a thread marked SPOILERS


    Also - and please pay attention to this part - if you see a post that is a naked spoiler that should be covered, notify on it - that sends me an e-mail that I'll see much more quickly than a post in thread.

    Don't start a big de-railing discussion on what should or should not be coded, just tell me and the other mods and let us fix it. Thank you! :)
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I like the six months mark, by then the majority of people who really want to have read it will have done so. I'll admit I am a year or so behind on Trek Lit, but that's mainly because I have been reading stuff other than Trek and I am very aware that most people are way ahead of me by now.
     
  7. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    One way to handle things is to put (spoilers) in the thread's title if you (the thread creator) feels there will most likely be spoilers in that thread. Then if anyone who reads that thread does read anything that's a spoiler, then that person is at fault because there is a warning.

    But (IMHO), I've not read every Star Trek book out there. In fact, it's not that difficult to miss out on say the eBook only releases if you don't normally read eBooks. So I do feel that six months is not nearly long enough.

    Here's a very good example of why spoilers out in the wild are not good. We have Star Trek: TNG: Cold Equations Book 1: The Persistence of Memory. It's a sequel to Star Trek: TNG: Immortal Coil. Yes, IC was out more then a year before TPoM. But it's quite possible not to have read IC and because of TPoM, now IC will be read by a number of people. Spoilers for IC would not be a good idea just because of its age.

    So please, it's very little effort to use spoiler codes. So please do so regardless of the book's age.
     
  8. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    (not a mod chime-in, just my thoughts)

    Using your example of the Persistence of Memory and Immortal Coil - most if not all of the references to Immortal Coil will be happening within the discussion of Persistence of Memory and that will be in review threads marked spoilers in the title, so that won't be a problem.


    Bottom line, in my view, is that this is a discussion forum so we should make it as easy as possible for people to discuss things and that means that some of us (myself included because I'm not up to date) run the risk of finding out parts of plots of books we haven't read.

    I don't think it's workable to ask someone to spoiler code a passing reference to a book published a couple of years ago. Also, I'd find that really annoying to read :)
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Also, people who are worried about spoilers should read defensively. If they see a thread about Book n in a series, then they should probably assume that it will contain spoilers about the preceding books in that same series, and so if they haven't read Book n-1 or Book n-2 yet and don't want to be spoiled on them, then they should probably avoid that thread.
     
  10. RoB

    RoB Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    To complete your example, you should define n as greater than or equal to 3. May get strange otherwise. But that's just the mathematician in me speaking.
     
  11. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    If we go with that, then any other book not part of n should have spoilers as that isn't to be expected.
     
  12. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I really think we need to draw a line somewhere though, it can get annoying when you have to constantly click through a million spoiler boxes in a thread. Honestly I really think if someone is that paranoid about spoilers they should just avoid a place where they might run into spoilers for that thing.
     
  13. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I am pretty new to the Star Trek novels and so yeah I haven't read a lot and have been spoiled by looking for opinions on what books to read.

    However I haven't found any major plot twists yet where I think a little spoiler is going to ruin my enjoyment of the book.

    Star Trek novels are not A Song of Ice Fire in terms of spoilers. For me it is just a way to continue reading stories with the characters I love.

    But of course I acknowledge that is just me!
     
  14. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it's absolutely absurd to put spoilers on a book that's more than 2 years old. I just saw that someone had put them on the Kahless thread, which is absolutely ridiculous. The book is close to 20 years old. There are going to be people looking at that thread in 30 or 40 years, who aren't even born yet, and they are probably going to be asking why the "Spoilers" was put on, since to them, yeah they haven't read it, but it would be like some posting about Hamlet and putting "spoilers" in the title for a story that is centuries old, even though not everyone had read Hamlet.
     
  15. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    I know the Kahless didn't need to have a spoiler warning since it's been out for ages which is what I said in the thread, but since what was being discussed were pretty fundamental for spoiling the novel I figured I might as well.

    Just because something isn't required doesn't mean it's stupid to do it.

    And there's a big difference between asking me to mark a thread title with "spoilers" and asking everyone to put their posts within spoiler code.
     
  16. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    That's fair. Sometimes it takes awhile for a book to make it to smaller cities, especially ones with very few bookstores. And not everyone can afford to run out and buy new books every month.

    There was a time in my life when I could barely afford food, let alone new books (or even used ones). Therefore, there are 10-12 years' worth of Star Trek novels I missed out on. I've since managed to acquire some of those, but by no means all. And since this "novelverse" thing started, I've never been able to catch up.

    That's why I don't frequent this forum very often. Most of the time people are talking about books I haven't managed to find, or haven't read yet, or didn't even know they existed. I hate spoilers.
     
  17. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    I'm sorry, but how on earth can a spoiler about a fictional work be "dangerous" if someone reveals said spoiler?

    That just feels like over the top hyperbole!

    Six months is perfectly fine, the way you've acted in the past, you would put spoiler tags under anything, regardless of age.

    I personally do not think the onus should be on the thread creater, it should be on the reader, you go into a thread discussing a recent book, or say, an upcoming book in an ongoing series like, say you did in the Protectors thread and in that other thread, demanding anything being discussed be put under spoiler tags. Now the thing is, if you hadn't read The Eternal Tide, you should have either stayed clear of the Protectors thread or expected that people would be discussing The Eternal Tide. You should have used your common sense.

    Exactly. But not everyone seems to possess that level of common sense.

    As for my own opinion, use common sense, steer clear of obvious threads about books you've not read and use spoiler tags for a good six months after release while discussing new stories outside of the main, obviously spoiler filled review and discussion thread.
     
  18. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Using Therin's example of someone starting a thread to ask about a book only to get that book spoiled is a good example of why we need spoiler codes more often then not. if you get into the habit of using them, then you won't have to worry about what thread you are in and if it's OK to spoil or not.

    Why is it we get spoilers in threads that have (spoilers) in the thread title, yet not when there is no (spoliers) in the thread title?

    Given that some people are behind and are catching up, six-months (IMHO) is too short a time. Granted, I'd give spoiler regardless of age, but if we have to have an age limit, I'd go for 2-years.
     
  19. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    He also said spoilers can be dangerous which is just silly and I'm glad you're not a mod around here then as two years is just extreme.
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I'm about 1 or 2 years behind, but even I agree that 2 years for spoiler coding is excessive. Honestly, at that point we just have to accept that we are behind and people are going to be talking about the books we haven't read yet.