When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, there was an unspoken promise made worldwide; a promise not to talk about plot spoilers for a decent amount of time. “We promise not to ruin a hugely anticipated movie for people by openly talking about it on social media.”
So why the hell doesn’t that apply to anything else?
Australia is unfortunately burdened with a limited variety of options to stream our favourite TV shows; and the TV show de jour is Game of Thrones. It’s available legally on Foxtel, but is generally accessed by more… illegal means. But, not everyone is down with sailing the high seas.
This isn’t a thing about piracy, that’s been done. This is about spoilers and how it’s almost impossible to go about your regular day without having someone allude to major plot spoilers on their Facebook. The best advice I’ve seen for people who don’t have the time to immediately watch Game of Thrones or aren’t comfortable with pirating it is, “Stay off the internet.” And sometimes, they’re only half-joking.
It’s unfair to expect people to not be excited about the latest plot twist in their favourite TV show (or book, or whatever) and want to talk about it with their friends. TV shows are created to enjoy and be shared with everyone else. What’s super annoying is when people openly discuss the pinnacle of the episode without considering others. I had the latest episode of Game of Thrones spoiled first thing Monday night. The episode was released on Sunday night (Monday morning in Australia) and I was prepared to watch the episode on Tuesday, because I was busy on Monday. I had three friends post either direct or indirect spoilers to their Facebook page and GoT trending on Twitter was imposing on my feed through no fault of my own.
The worst offenders aren’t even single people, they’re media sites. Buzzfeed will regularly post screenshots of the episode or movie they’re talking about with “Fans are super angry about that ending…” Hell, as I scroll through my Facebook feed there are three spoilery posts, two from the same media outlet.
Let’s talk about this for a second: There are ways to avoid spoilers (there are dozens of Chrome extensions to replace spoilers with cats or Nicholas Cage), but a lot of it requires you to do something outside of what you would normally do in your daily routine. A friend of mine is now taking the extreme step of unfriending people who constantly post spoilers; which is extreme, but understandable. But where do you draw the line? When it is okay again to openly talk about spoilers in TV shows or games? I know I’ve deleted spoilers about Telltale’s RPG Tales from the Borderlands which is a game that has been out for 12 months because I know people on my friends list haven’t been able to play it, and the plot devices being talked about directly lead into other parts of the universe. Is it my own fault for taking too long to play the game?
In the end, there’s an air of courtesy I think people need to be aware of. Being reminded that people have lives outside of their favourite TV shows is probably something that should happen. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is…