It is now roughly 2½ months since Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out.

Now, the waiting list to see the play is very long and I know more than one person who is waiting for their opportunity to watch the play before reading the script.

Nevertheless, with a recent discussion about The Force Awakens in mind, I wanted to start a discussion about the right time - if indeed there is one - to edit some of the more obfuscated content, for example my question:

So, why'd he have a child in the first place?

Which is an almost entirely empty title, at least if you don't check what the question is tagged with.

The question body is even worse, because it contains what I consider a fairly major spoiler.

Also, how deep should the cleaning go?

  • 4
    Brilliant title! :-D
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Oct 14, 2016 at 22:08
  • @Randal'Thor Thank you ;)
    – Au101
    Oct 14, 2016 at 22:12
  • 5
    Some people try to adopt a strategy of adding spoilers for any content that might “spoil” someone, regardless of how old or popular it is. I don’t, since that tends to make answers look ugly (some end up being more spoilers than text) and break up the block quotes that I love. I only employ spoilers with moderately popular franchises that were recently released, or when the person writing the question makes it clear that they haven’t read or watched past a certain point.
    – Adamant
    Oct 14, 2016 at 22:19
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    @Adamant - I agree. One of the main purposes of the "ignore tag" facility is to allow users to ignore tags that they wish to avoid getting spoiled. Beyond the title (and maybe the first 1-2 lines of the question text) you've really no-one to blame but yourself if you read a spoiler.
    – Valorum
    Oct 14, 2016 at 22:52
  • @Valorum For some reason I doubt that the 8 year old feature of ignoring tags had the main purpose of preventing people from have stories spoiled. Also, chat doesn't respect tag preferences.
    – user31178
    Oct 15, 2016 at 7:46
  • @CreationEdge - I believe there's a chrome plugin for that. You'd have to hunt around to find it.
    – Valorum
    Oct 15, 2016 at 21:54
  • @Valorum I don't really care about spoilers, but the reasons for/against them have been argued over and over.
    – user31178
    Oct 15, 2016 at 21:57
  • 4
    @CreationEdge - Indeed. My general principle is that I don't like spoilers and I especially don't like people intentionally posting them. That being said, I also don't like intentionally obfuscated titles "Why did this character do this?". It's a toughie.
    – Valorum
    Oct 15, 2016 at 22:05
  • I think you‘ll find it’s ‘An Unearthly Child’. Oct 27, 2016 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


You should be fine following the spoiler policy regarding avoiding spoilers. In general:

  • Try to make your title as free of key plot developments as possible, but always make it meaningful.
  • Try to avoid giving away key plot details in your questions and answers if they are not relevant to your post.
  • If you need to include key plot details, put as little as possible behind spoiler markup.

Ideally, that should always be the case, so there's no reason to go back and edit questions later on to make them easier to read. The guidelines in the policy and related discussions (including the one about The Force Awakens) make them good to use both immediately around release time and far into the future.

I would not recommend going through and editing any but the most egregious abuse of spoiler tags/obfuscated titles.

And, as mentioned in comments and elsewhere, I would personally avoid obvious spoilers in the first few lines that show up in the question preview, since those can't be blocked/ignored as easily as the rest of the question body.

  • The thing is, the first line of the “spoiler policy” says that users should find their own guidelines. In that sense, then, the policy is that there is no policy.
    – Adamant
    Oct 16, 2016 at 1:03
  • 1
    @Adamant That was asked when the site was nascent. The verbiage should just be updated. There's a whole slew of questions about spoilers, and the suggestions are pretty consistent.
    – user31178
    Oct 16, 2016 at 1:32
  • 1
    @Adamant by your logic, we have no policies, as all policies on this site (what's on/off topic, what counts as sci-fi, what is/isn't a spoiler, what is/isn't a good tag, etc.) require the user to make a judgement call. We have a spoiler policy, that spoiler policy is "decide what you think is a spoiler and then "be nice" to everyone else about it."
    – KutuluMike
    Oct 16, 2016 at 2:11
  • @KutuluMike - I don't think we are disagreeing here, exactly.
    – Adamant
    Oct 16, 2016 at 2:22
  • @KutuluMike - The main issue is that CreationEdge’s answer implies that the policy is that age is irrelevant to whether something is a spoiler. The answer to the spoiler policy question makes it pretty clear that “it’s up to users to find their own guidelines,” presumably including how (or whether) to take into account the age of works.
    – Adamant
    Oct 16, 2016 at 23:02
  • 1
    The general policy is that age is irrelevant, but it also expects each user to decide if something "would spoil things for me if I knew it"... there are cases where age matters, e.g. a work that's so old that everyone already knows the spoiler, but IMO those are rare.
    – KutuluMike
    Oct 16, 2016 at 23:11

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