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As you may or may not be aware, a certain video game came out yesterday. I enjoy looking for questions that I may be able to help out on Arqade, but I don't really want to spoil myself for this game; I'm slightly behind because I have not finished Ground Zeroes yet. Yesterday, the questions about MGSV seemed to be pretty good about avoiding spoilers in the title, but today I saw (don't even read the URL from the hyperlink if you are also trying to avoid spoilers) a particularly bad one.

I just wanted to know if there are any policies against these kinds of blatant spoilers on Arqade, at least while the game is still new? If not, I suppose I could filter the MGSV tag... but what if I start getting far enough in the game that I want to help out others, without finishing it? (I frequently did this while playing Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2)

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    It's literally the first chapter of the game. The very first mission you get. Explained in the first minute of the first mission. And all it says is you need to rescue him. There is no twist or surprise being ruined. Is this really considered a spoiler? – Sterno Sep 2 '15 at 23:09
  • And how am I supposed to know that if I haven't played the game? What if it was the last mission instead? – Lucas Leblanc Sep 3 '15 at 13:31
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    I really hope Arqade doesn't go as far as SF&F seem to with spoiler tagging things. "How do I make someone do something?" as a question title is pretty much useless for discoverability. – TZHX Sep 6 '15 at 19:28
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We have edited out serious spoilers in titles in the past, I'll use one of my own questions about Mass Effect 3 as an example.

My original question contained a spoiler about a character dying in the title. At the time I didn't consider it a major spoiler as I thought the death of the character was preventable, like with other characters in the game. I was wrong about that in this case, and there was some backlash against my spoilery title. It was changed, and while I don't like using less useful titles that are harder to find by searching, I certainly understand why avoiding the spoiler was probably the better choice.

I'm not particularly sensitive with regards to spoilers, I think too many people exaggerate their negative impact. I'm especially annoyed when people complain about very minor spoilers that are almost impossible to avoid. The only sure way to avoid all spoilers is to avoid the entire internet, or at least any site that covers this particular game.

I think we should make an effort to avoid major spoilers in titles and excerpts. Otherwise this site is useless to anyone that cares even a bit about spoilers, as the danger of being spoiled is getting rather large. For newly released games, I think avoiding major spoilers in titles makes a lot of sense. If we don't do that, there is a huge incentive for users to avoid reading the site at all while they play. This hurts the site as those users won't ask or answer anything, just because they don't want to be spoiled. There is a price to pay for this, and that price are bad titles. If we avoid spoilers, our titles are going to be worse. I think that is a reasonable price to pay for major spoilers for current games.

One part of avoiding spoilers is common sense. For example, if there is a question about the ending of a particular game, why are people complaining about getting spoiled when they read that post, or why do they complain about the lack of spoiler markup in the answer? If you don't want to get spoiled, you certainly shouldn't read any question that mentions the ending of the game. The important part is preventing the unavoidable spoilers, which are mostly the question titles. Those appear on the main site, in chat or even in the hot network questions. We shouldn't put major spoilers in those titles, even if it hurts the ability to find those questions via search engines because we have to choose crappier titles to avoid the spoilers.

  • I never understood the whole spoiler thing either. But one thing users can do on this site at least is add the relevant tag to their ignore list and turn on 'hide questions with ignored tags' in their user preferences page. This will stop them from being inadvertently spoiled by the question titles as they are browsing aroudn. – Robotnik Sep 3 '15 at 3:30
  • "I'm not particularly sensitive with regards to spoilers, I think too many people exaggerate their negative impact." I guess your friend never told you that the player character is Revan during recess :) – MrLemon Sep 3 '15 at 13:22
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    What about a feature request to allow some sort of spoiler tagging in titles, maybe where a non spoilery title will show on any list but the actual title will show on mouse over or the question itself. I could imagine a feature like this being useful on any pop culture related SE site. – JustinM - Reinstate Monica Sep 9 '15 at 18:41
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There's no specific policy. Use common sense and good judgement, and don't tie your question into knots or leave it meaninglessly vague to avoid a spoiler and you'll be fine.

(For example: "Can I change Thanes fate?" Is a reasonable amount of obfuscation. "Question about SPOILER with the SPOILER at SPOILER (near the end)" is not. And sadly, we've seen our share of the latter. A good rule of thumb is to never dance around a proper noun that will help people doing a search.)

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