The Cursed Child play and accompanying script book are coming out now, and the story is considered canon.

However, new canon information to older questions about the original Harry Potter series?

Background (try not sounding too petty or ranty)... I saw some active Harry Potter questions and dove into them to see what was going on; long story short I ended up seeing spoilers for the new material because the answers were not spoil tagged.

My suggestion might be to either 1) ask a new question tagged with the new canon or 2) at least give answers with spoiler tags.

  • 3
    yeah i dont know why were not using using spoiler tags on a brand new work.
    – Himarm
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 20:30
  • @Himarm If you or anybody is willing to go through and edit in the spoiler, I think that would be great community service. I don't want to do it yet as I have seen/read the new material.
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 20:32
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    Also, from what I saw spoiled, it looks like this basically a canonized fanfic?
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 20:32
  • its weird thats all
    – Himarm
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 20:33
  • I have not always observed the policy of adding spoiler tags to such answers, but I think it is a good idea. That said, it is certainly a good idea to use new canon information for answers.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 20:39
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    It's not entirely clear what you're asking. Are you wanting to know if it's ok to use Cursed Child as a canon resource or are you asking about using spoiler tags in recent canon.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 21:11
  • The same question might be asked any time a new source is added to the canon for any universe; and the answer would be (1) the new source should be used in answering questions and (2) spoiler tags are appropriate. Could it be that the problem in this case that you are uncomfortable with treating The Cursed Child as canon?
    – Blackwood
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 13:24
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    @Skooba - given that it wasn't written by JKR, I'm personally cataloguing it in my mind exactly the way you put it (canonized fanfic). Even to the point of not bothering to read it yet in favor of prioritizing reading more interesting fanfics :) Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Information from new works should be used to answer old questions

Normally this is where I would discuss why I think that's true, but I'm at a loss for what to write; it seems so completely obvious to me, and is what we've been doing on this site since basically forever. Even in the Harry Potter canon, a bunch of old questions get new (or updated) answers every time a new thing is put on Pottermore; I've done it myself.

I'm strongly opposed to your suggestion that new questions be asked for the new information in newer sources, for a few reasons:

  • It stratifies the canon in a way I'm not comfortable with (in most cases). There's little intuitive reason why a question like "Why is X a thing in Harry Potter" and "Why is X a thing in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" should have different answers1; Cursed Child is official canon, on the same level as Pottermore or the original seven novels.

    Assuming we didn't immediately close one of those questions as a dupe of the other (something I'll get to in a moment), having them as separate questions implicitly sends the message "this book is more or less canon than other books." Sending that message seems disingenuous to me.

  • Now we have an answer in two places. This is less true of cases where the new work provides a heretofore unknown answer to a question, but very strongly applies to cases where the new work provides additional support (or additional discussion, e.g. if it contradicts previous canon) to an existing answer.

    One of the things we seem to have largely settled on as a community (though certainly not unanimously) is that it's better to have the answers in one place than in multiple places. The all-time great example is How is canonicity of derivative works determined for Star Wars?, which has been the target of more than 50 dupes. Unless we immediately close one question as a dupe of the other, having two questions asking the same thing seems the opposite of this. And if we do immediately close one of them, what was the point in asking it? I'm not necessarily opposed to duplicate questions as a rule but if the choice is between updating an answer to an existing question (or posting a new answer) or asking and self-answering with the new information, then why bother?

Should information from new canon sources be spoilerified?

This is one of my pet peeves, so I apologize in advance if I get curt. I promise I'll try to stay civil. There are two points here:

  • Yes, information from new sources should be spoilerified. This is just being courteous to readers, reviewers, and moderators alike. Be kind, spoilerify. If you come across information that hasn't been spoilerified, then we have provided a handy mechanism for you to fix the problem with: the little "edit" link at the bottom of the post. Nothing is stopping you from using it.

    All I would ask is that you bear in mind:

    • Not every detail is a spoiler. For the Cursed Child example, the fact that there is a character named Delphini Diggory is not a spoiler. Some of the things we learn about that character, however, are
    • Ideally questions and answers should be understandable (to some degree) without having to look at the spoilerified content
    • In general, we give people a lot of sovereignty over their posts. So be graceful if your edit gets rejected or rolled back.
  • Ultimately, it's your responsibility to avoid spoilers. This is where things might get dicey for me. Deep breath, and here we go.

    Everybody has a different level of toleration for spoilers. Personally, for most things I don't care; some people don't want to hear any details about anything even remotely related to the work in question. Both of those are fine, but it's unreasonable to expect everyone to conform to your level of spoiler toleration. On this site we encourage the use of spoiler markup as a courtesy, but no level of spoilerification will please everyone.

    With spoiler tolerance being so personal, ultimate responsibility for avoiding spoilers must be equally personal. There's only so much we can do with spoiler markup.

1 That being said, there may be times when that's appropriate; if you were asking about perceived inconsistencies in the play, for example. As always, a certain amount of case-by-case evaluation is needed

  • 3
    Very nicely put. I wish I had the patience to write answers like this :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 23:10
  • 2
    Amen. I am not happy with the conclusion (not having a firm uniform policy pains my OCD), but it is unfortunately the only reasonable conclusion, following a very well written and detailed answer. Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 15:56
  • If I had known a spoiler was about the Cursed Child, I wouldn't have looked at it; in that case it wasn't obvious what the spoiler tag was a spoiler for
    – muddyfish
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 13:38
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    @muddyfish - And I also think it's important to put something like "Spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follow:" just prior to the text under the spoiler tag(s). I think that helps make it infinitely clear exactly what work is being discussed. Sometimes users, in the hope of being helpful to those who want to remain spoiler-free, are a little too vague regarding what the subject matter actually is. :) Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 3:12
  • @Slytherincess Absolutely. In pretty much every scenario, spoilertags should be accompanied by an unspoilertagged note about where the spoilers are from, so that everyone knows whether or not they want to click on them. We should remember the original use value of spoilertags, not just use them blindly because "it's site policy".
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 17:19

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