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Wikipedia "Spoiler" Button (jaymachalani.com)
20 points by TechnoFou on Nov 10, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

I see this person didn't use Wikpedia before 2007, it used to have exactly what he's suggesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Spoiler#Why_spoiler_...

In addition to the arguments listed there the thing that bothered me most about it was that it imposed a straitjacket on the editorializing of any article that contained spoilers, you now had to bend over backwards to partition it into spoiler and non-spoiler sections.

Yeah I just saw a comment on my site with this link. I honestly didn't know that Wikipedia had a system like this before. Thanks for the link!

I still think though that they should do a better separation between the actual information and the story elements though.

The article does have such a separation, but you navigated down to the section about the fifth season. Honestly, what were you expecting if not a summary of what happens is that season?

Also, who should spoiler warnings in an article about a TV series benefit? People who haven't seen the latest series? People who haven't seen it at all?

Should the summary say nothing about how Walt turns to crime (which wasn't apparent to me when I started watching it), and instead describe Breaking Bad in vague terms as the struggles of a New Mexico man to provide for his family?

Spoiler warnings are inherently at odds with writing a succinct and accurate summary of a given subject, which is what Wikipedia strives to do.

Other commenters here are right, if you don't want something spoiled for you then simply don't read encyclopedia articles about it.

You wanted some information about the structure of the aired episodes, there's plenty of TV-guide like sources for that that aren't encyclopedias.

If you don't want to learn about a subject it might be best to avoid reading an encyclopedia article on it.

It's not always that easy. I was recently reading a fantastic book, not all at once from beginning to the end. So at some point, thrilled by the book, I just wanted to quickly check if the author was famous, if the book sold well, etc. I checked quickly the wikipedia page of that book trying (and succeeding, but still) to avoid getting spoiled. If you want to read it, it's "the fault in our stars" (but don't check wikipedia for it)

I remain proud to have done my bit to destroy the spoiler warning.

This. I am tried of all the spoiler whining.

Because of a very strong community-driven notion that Wikipedia is not censored, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_disclaimers_in_art...) spoiler warnings won't make it into articles directly. This has been heavily discussed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/...

But indirectly, this functionality could exist in a Javascript widget/gadget/script that users who do not wish to see spoilers can install themselves, into their registered account's settings. The installation process is usually very simple, a small copy/paste into a configuration file.

I think that no direct modifications to articles to accommodate the script would be allowed; this includes special templates, <!-- hidden comments-->, or even the existing benign {{anchor}} template (usually used to mark HTML URL#link targets), if it's used to mark text {{anchor|spoiler}} for the script.

So the script has to be smart and dependent only the article text itself. It could selectively activate on articles in any category containing the words Television or Film, on sections named Plot or Synopsis, and simply collapse (autohide), or redact (blackout) any paragraphs which contain proper names, or keywords present in a list (die, dead, death, kill, wed, wedd*, marry, married, etc.)

A good starting point would be the text selection and redaction functionality as shown in the ProseSize.js script, which also presents a "Page size" link in the left navigation bar and, when clicked, instantly styles all the eligible article text background in yellow. Our widget could just use black.

I leave it to Javascript and CSS wizards to go further.

Another idea: Maintain an external database of Wikipedia articles (or sections!) that contain spoilers.

WARNING: Do not read this article if you haven't watched the end of Breaking Bad. (This post is safe though)

I, like the author, am very sensitive to spoilers and completely agree that people for whom spoilers ruin the enjoyment of a work should still be able to reap the benefits of an encyclopedia for the work's "metadata" -- information about the cast, running time, season and episode count, production, etc. However, the article, ironically and much to my horror (Edit: actually the author has a warning at the top of the page, which I missed), spoils the end of Breaking Bad, one of television's most popular shows, a show that is/was still on my to watch list.

That's why I added at the top of the post a WARNING line! Actually, just the Wikipedia screenshots I added are enough to spoil, thus the reason of this article!

I apparently missed that! Hopefully my redundancy here will help prevent others from doing the same.

It's an encyclopedia for god's sake.

When wikipedia turned user-hostile in about 2006 that was one of the things that went. Just use a better wiki (e.g. tv tropes).

We didn't stab the spoiler warning through its whiny little heart until 2007.

Good to know that Wikipedia contributors/editors have a healthy respect for their users! /s

Yes, we think if they go to an encyclopedia they're after encyclopedic content. It turns out Wikipedia isn't Ain't It Cool.

> we think

There's your problem. Your attitude consists of:

  We think that the users want X. A bunch of users have
  been asking for Y, but we are going to ignore them because
  what "we think" the users want trumps what actual
  users are asking for. Oh, and the users that don't like
  our attitude are "whiny."
You are not pointing to anything concrete about what your actual users want other than what you think your "ideal user" wants. Idealized views of what users want don't always end up matching reality.

Also, I'm failing to see how splitting information between "spoiler-full" and "spoiler-free" makes your content less encyclopedic, or has any link to Ain't It Cool News.

Overall, your general attitude of putting people down[1][2][3] represents Wikipedia in a poor light, represents yourself in a poor light, and generally comes across as very trollish.

[1] Splitting information into 'spoiler/no-spoiler' means that Wikipedia is going to turn into Ain't It Cool.

[2] Putting information behind a spoiler warning causes the content to be less encyclopedic.

[3] The spoiler hiding/warning is 'whiny' (and by extension it's proponents that don't want stories to be spoiled are also whiny).

The key problems were:

1. spoilers are inherently opinion - there is no way to dictate neutrally what is and isn't a spoiler, and no referenceable source for such

2. spoilers were superfluous in many cases (a section labeled "Plot" or "Summary" is going to have details of the story in it)

3. a spoiler-warning culture was causing editorial problems: relevant information being removed from articles for being a spoiler, or articles being twisted into weird shapes to herd details into "spoiler" sections

4. the spoiler culture was getting gibberingly stupid (a spoiler warning on "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Three Little Pigs", I shit you not).

The thing I did was remove several thousand spoiler warnings from "Plot" or "Summary" sections, where they were superfluous. When those were gone, the other problems were enough for consensus to reach the death of the spoiler warning.

But let's assume spoiler warnings are a great idea. How would you implement 1. neutrally and verifiably in a manner that was hard to argue with?

1. In the example at hand, a possible solution would be to separate the mechanics of how the episodes aired from the content of the story itself. You don't need story details to have an explanation of how Season 5 of Breaking Bad was broken into two pieces that aired a year apart from each other.

2. The fact that a major character dies, is pretty arguably a spoiler. Obviously not for stories so common and/or old that they are tropes (e.g. Romeo and Juliet). Coming back to the example of Breaking Bad Season 5, knowing that a major character dies is probably universally accepted as a spoiler within the first year or so after it airs.

So how far do you go back? And for what countries and, indeed, cultures? Note that English Wikipedia is not American Wikipedia, but pretty much International Wikipedia. The world is a very big place. You still seem to be assuming I've asked you for "something obviously acceptable people like me", and that's not the case at all. What's a rule for people who are from somewhere that couldn't even tell you who Baba Yaga was, let alone a story about her?

And if you're sure there's pent-up demand for such a thing, look to duskwuff's suggestion:


Construct the database, put a useful mechanism on it, crowdsource contributions, sell ads. HN is about doing stuff, after all.

(This is also more likely to achieve your desired result of a usable spoiler mechanism for Wikipedia.)

... You just spoiled Breaking Bad for me, thanks!

Wow, man, you have to binge-watch faster.

This is a stupid suggestion that has no place in an encyclopedia, then again wikipedia is not an encyclopedia, but still this suggestion belongs on a specialized community forum or website.

Wikipedia is already dying a slow and painful agony and has been for a while, no need to accelerate it by adding more trivia and irrelevant features to it.

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