Spoiler protection (was: META: readalong list rules)

Tue Jun 11 21:48:56 PDT 2002

On Tue, Jun 11, 2002 at 11:16:05PM -0500, David Dyer-Bennet <dd-b at dd-b.net> wrote:
> Gaertk at aol.com writes:
> > [snip everything quoted]
> > How do we want to handle spoiler protection when new books
> > come out?  I suggest putting "SPOILER" in the subject and
> > at least ten lines of spoiler space preceding the spoilers.
> > How long should we require spoiler protection?  One month?
> We do need a policy, and hence some rules statement, in the main
> list.  Unfortunately, I think serious spoilers need protection
> essentially *forever*.  I see people running into trouble with that
> fairly frequently on rec.arts.sf.written, for example.  Probably a
> shorter exclusion on *any* spoilers is a good idea too.

rasfw deals in a wide variety of authors.  Any particular reader
cannot hope to keep up with the reading of the entire group.  In
addition, many readers use discussion in rasfw as a way to locate
new authors and books of interest.  Thus, major spoilers need
spoiler protection for long periods of time.  Minor spoilers are
protected after the first release for a short period of time, at
least for works that receive significant discussion.

However, more tightly focused discussion groups typically use a
short spoiler period for new releases rather than the rasfw
policy.  As an example I cite rasfwr-j, perhaps the canonical
"author-specialized rasfw subgroup".  Spoiler protection operates
there for perhaps a month following each new release, after which
point it is assumed that those reading the group have acquired
and read the latest.  

Any other policy will tend to stifle discussion of the latest

> Remember, lots of people will find the list after having just found
> the books and read the first few.  Or maybe the most recent three
> instead.  Or something. 

This simply indicates that it is impossible to provide protection
>from spoilers to everyone.  Those who have not read everything
available need to accept a risk of spoilage if they choose to
participate in discussions about the work -- for that very reason
I tend to be very careful what I read (on rasfw or elsewhere)
about a given book or series if I intend to read it later.

There is a short window of time after the release of a book when
it is feasible to say "This particular book needs spoiler
protection, because a significant number of people have not had
the chance to read it."  Trying to extend that to ALL books 
being discussed renders it pointless -- if all discussion
must have spoiler warnings, just put a great big spoiler warning
in the rules and be done with it.  

Matthew Hunter (matthew at infodancer.org)