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I just submitted With the revelation of Jones's ally/leader in Season 4 how does that change Season 1 and was wondering how to indicate spoilers. Even the first sentence is pretty spoilery, and would probably get a punch from my girlfriend, who is only on the DVDs. I tried to make the question as vague as possible but it still would probably have earned me a night on the couch.

I tagged it spoilers, but saw it didn't have an official tag. Looking in the FAQ there was no indication why, heck the word spoilers is not even in the FAQ. Other than marking up the entire question or putting a spoiler warning in the question how should I mark this up? Should I indicate what episode and season it is no longer a spoiler after?

As noted in What is the policy for spoilers?, we probably don't need to mark everything as spoilers. But in the case of an ongoing series, like Fringe, where you are asking about recent revelations that echo back through the whole show, should you be giving warning? Something like

(Spoilers before S4E9)

What is the policy for spoilers? doesn't have clear guidelines. And without some sort of way to mark these questions, I may not ask questions that are pertinent to recent shows. I really think this is an issue that we need to come to some sort of consensus on, until then I can't point people who are spoiler averse at the site.

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    Presumably, if you've not seen season 4, and you don't want to be spoiled, you already have enough information to know not to click it. – DampeS8N Feb 16 '12 at 20:09
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First, you'll want a good introduction. Starting by just stating the spoiler block just has spoilers for S?E? isn't as good as giving a sentence or two about not only the timing of the spoiler but the context.


Spoilers for Empire Strikes Back.

vs.

During the climactic battle in Empire Strikes back, Vader reveals something. My question is related to that spoiler.


Second, I think it's best to have the question itself outside the spoiler block, to make it more accessible. This means phrasing it such that the question itself isn't all spoiler, and I suggest doing this by structuring the statements in the spoiler block to provide the context. Use pronouns or terms that have a double meaning to people who know the spoiler.


So Vader is Luke's dad, who'd have guessed that?!

Who then is Luke's grandfather?

vs.

So Vader is Luke's dad. Who is Vader's dad?


For Fringe, we can refer to Season 4 instead of:

new timeline.

And viewers who are up to date will know what you're talking about when comparing Season 4 to the earlier seasons.

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Stack Exchange aims to be a lasting resource. As such, we don't want to have restrictions like “don't spoil current shows”, because that would create questions that are no longer relevant a few months later. Stack Exchange is also a global resource, so a show that is already available on DVD in the US may not have aired yet in some other country — are you going to wait until everyone in Zimbabwe and Burma have had a chance to catch up?

Therefore:

  • Use spoiler markup (putting >! at the beginning of a paragraph) for things that you think will spoil the show for some readers.
  • Be very clear in the leading text as to who that hidden text will spoil things for. Otherwise they can't know whether to look at the hidden text or not!

It's best to avoid major spoilers directly in titles, but the title must remain meaningful and searchable. Your title seems fine to me.

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