Spoilers: The Internet Awakens
There’s nothing more irritating than getting spoiled your favorite TV show, book, or the movie you were planning to see later. With the explosion of social networks and other medias online, Internet users had to find new strategies to stay safe. You’ll be pleased to know this article does not contain any spoilers – you’re safe!
Original drawing by gtartwork (http://gtartwork.deviantart.com – CC Licence 3.0)
What’s a spoiler?
For those who are not familiar with this term, a spoiler is an element which reveals any plot element, giving away details that were unknown to the user. The result is dramatic, as the person’s enjoyment can be greatly affected. Some people won’t mind getting spoiled, but in general, it ruins the surprise for everyone. It can take many forms: a written forum post, a press article, a Facebook comment, a YouTube video, etc. You get the idea, a spoiler can be anything, which is problematic as you’re not safe anywhere on the Internet.
In general, a spoiler stops being one when some time has passed or if what it concerns is known to the general public – there’s no strict rule about this though. Let me take an example: lots of plot details from the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens are considered as spoilers, as the movie was only released a few days ago in Europe. However, the crucial revelation from Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back (released in 1980) isn’t considered as a spoiler anymore, while it was when the film came out.
How to stay safe from spoilers?
If you’re a Game of Thrones or Walking Dead fan, you may fear opening your Internet browser every time a new episode comes out – there’s always someone on the Internet who saw it before you and who’s ready to ruin the fun. As many people face this problem, some users came up with new ideas to avoid getting spoiled. Staying away from your computer or smartphone isn’t the only answer now!
Most websites or forums (such as Reddit) adopted an anti-spoiler policy. In general, users mask spoilers under a black bar, and people need to click on said bar to show what’s hidden. It is also a common courtesy to warn other users if one posts spoilers – one example can be found in the first paragraph of this article. But since those techniques are far from effective against people who are willing to reveal spoilers, the Internet came up with new weapons to avoid them.
Anti-spoiler addons for browsers started to appear with the last season of Game of Thrones, which broke the Internet. There are plug-ins that users can download and add to their browsers for free – most of them were designed for Google Chrome, and newer ones start to appear for Mozilla Firefox. The extension automatically detects potential spoilers from the TV show or movie and blocks the Internet page in consequence. It may not be perfect, but for now it allows fans to peacefully wait for their new episode or movie without getting it revealed beforehand.
Alexandre MOUREY (@AlexandreMourey) is studying law and e-business in Strasbourg, France. Passionate about new technologies and video, he participates to several projects on the Internet, especially with his association FFL Production.