A spoiler 'tag' to hide text for questions and answers was added back in December (>!), however, Stack Exchange has yet to add anything similar to chat. Considering chat conversations can lead just about anywhere, a feature to hide text in chat would be very useful.

I propose a system very similar to this plug-in created by @Ardaxi. It hides text enclosed in back ticks (`) with a black bar, and shows it when the cursor hovers over it, like so:

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  • Nice idea, but back ticks are already used. Maybe use !< to end the spoiler section to keep it consistent.
    – CruelCow
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 15:47
  • I only mentioned back ticks in order to describe @ArdaXi's plug-in.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


The more I think about this, the less I like it. If you don't want to post something in Chat, don't post it. If you want to target specific users, you can easily create a room for just you & them. If you post something you shouldn't have, you can delete it - or ask the room owner to move it into another room.

Teasing users with a mouseover they might accidentally reveal while trying to target another post as the chat room scrolls... That's just mean. And it opens up the can of worms from the main site: do these show up in search results? In your activity history? In Google?

Chat is - or at least, can be - interactive. If someone's posting spoilers, ask them to stop. If a conversation must necessarily include spoilers, ask them to move it into a separate room and note the presence of spoilers in the description.

  • The point of this would be to prevent spoilers from being read in the first place. If a user needs to ask someone to stop posting spoilers the damage is already done. I would agree that for lengthy spoiler discussions it just makes more sense to relocate to a separate room, but my proposal is aimed more at shorter discussions.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:20
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    @Wipqozn: there's no way for the system to identify these though; it's really a social / cultural issue. If a user isn't sufficiently conscientious to avoid posting spoilers in public, then he's not gonna be thinking to include some obscure bit of markdown in them either; you'd end up having to badger him into doing so, at which point you're better off just pushing him into a separate room.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:25
  • I'm not suggesting the system determines if it will be a lengthy discussion. Users will often know if they will have an extended discussion on a topic. It's true that users that post spoilers in public without thinking about it are unlikely to use a tag, but it would still be used by users who wish to say one or two things on a topic and no more. Even with our current spoiler system users still need to choose to use it, so we shouldn't be overly concerned with users who just won't think to use it.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:31
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    @Wipqozn: I'm not concerned about it at all - I think there's a perfectly good way for users who realize they're about to say something spoilerish to avoid doing so in front of others; the fact that you're bringing this up seems to indicate you've had to deal with people who just don't care. Social issue...
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:35
  • This actually has nothing to do with people who just don't care, it's based on ease of use. In situations where you are only going to say a couple things on a topic, or only wish to make a single statement it doesn't make sense for users to go through the trouble of making a new room and linking people to it for them to see their spoiler. The trouble of doing so outweighs the benefit, where as a hide text feature would make doing so fairly easy. posting an example in the next comment
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:42
  • Example: "Just beat the final boss. Took me awhile to realize <spoiler>you had to hit his head then his chest to kill him</spoiler>." This isn't something that's going to lead to some lengthy discussion, a user is just sharing something. If it does start to turn into a discussion, users can then move to a new chat room. But to make a new chat room, post that, then tell people to go to it is more trouble then it's worth. A hide text feature would make doing so easy.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:43
  • 1
    @Wipqozn: then I've gotta ask... Why bother posting that at all? If you don't plan to discuss it at length, and you don't think all/most of the readers will want to see it, why not just... Refrain? You could just as easily write, "...Took me awhile to realize the trick for killing him" and, if someone else is interesting in discussing it, take it off-room. Folks who already know will know what you're talking about, and folks who don't won't have their fun spoiled.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:46
  • I was going to post a few more counter-points, however this line has convinced me otherwise: Teasing users with a mouseover they might accidentally reveal while trying to target another post as the chat room scrolls... That's just mean. I can definitely see that as something that happens consistently. Although I still think there are situations where hidden text is much better then making a new room, that doesn't outweigh the negative side of people hovering over spoiler text accidentally.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 17:59

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