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A Minor Rant


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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I do not personally experience any loss of anything at all from spoilers, and I don’t really grok what it’s like, though.

There is a form of dramatic tension that comes from not knowing what happens next. Properly crafted, release of that tension by experiencing the resolution is part of the emotional experience of engaging with the work.

Spoilers rob the person of experiencing that release.

If you, as an audience member, don't become invested in how the work will resolve, you also won't experience the emotional effect.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You can only be surprised by a plot twist once. Spoilers prevent you from having that unique experience.
Like….in theory I get what you’re saying, it just doesn’t…make sense to me. Idk maybe it’s just that none of my favorite movies surprised me or maybe being surprised by a story development just doesn’t have the same impact on me as it does on others.

It’s obvious to you what value surprise has, and to me it’s quite obscure.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
There is a form of dramatic tension that comes from not knowing what happens next. Properly crafted, release of that tension by experiencing the resolution is part of the emotional experience of engaging with the work.

Spoilers rob the person of experiencing that release.

If you, as an audience member, don't become invested in how the work will resolve, you also won't experience the emotional effect.
Well, no. That last part is completely false, because you are falsely equating your experience to a universal. I’m quite engaged in how the work will play out, and experience the release of tension regardless of whether I know what comes next.

I can assure you, knowing the how Han dies in The Force Awakens beforehand did not make seeing it any less upsetting for me, nor did it make Kylo Ren's subsequent defeat less cathartically satisfying.

No one in the theater when I saw Hamilton was unaware that Burr eventually shoots Hamilton. It’s given away in the first song, even if an audience member didn’t know it going in.

There were very few people unaffected by it, however.
 

Reynard

Legend
Well, no. That last part is completely false, because you are falsely equating your experience to a universal. I’m quite engaged in how the work will play out, and experience the release of tension regardless of whether I know what comes next.

I can assure you, knowing the how Han dies in The Force Awakens beforehand did not make seeing it any less upsetting for me, nor did it make Kylo Ren's subsequent defeat less cathartically satisfying.

No one in the theater when I saw Hamilton was unaware that Burr eventually shoots Hamilton. It’s given away in the first song, even if an audience member didn’t know it going in.

There were very few people unaffected by it, however.
I think @Umbran explaining,not stating an immutable truth.

I get that you don't have a negative reaction to spoilers, but surely you can understand why other people might.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Well, no. That last part is completely false, because you are falsely equating your experience to a universal. I’m quite engaged in how the work will play out, and experience the release of tension regardless of whether I know what comes next.

Dude, I am explicitly speaking about differences in experience - so clearly, I am not saying it is universal. You are barking up the wrong tree there.

You may have a critique about my claim as to WHY there is a difference. I'm leaning on my collegiate studies of film and fiction there, in which we discussed it - for example, there's a difference in putting on a brand new play, and putting on a revival or reworking - which is important for, say, performances of Shakespeare, in which large portions of the audience know not just the story, but often most of the relevant lines.

That there is a difference, your own question allows for. In your reaction here, you sure seem to be insisting that YOUR experience is universal, when I claim it isn't. You experience A release of the tension, and that's fine - consider my point a little overstated and inaccurate there. I'll accept that.

However, are you absolutely sure that your experience is the same as what others feel? If you are sure, then your question is not really in good faith. If you are not, then don't accuse me of universalizing experiences yet, okay?

I can assure you, knowing the how Han dies in The Force Awakens beforehand did not make seeing it any less upsetting for me

Well, yes, that's the point. I'm saying that, for some folks, there is a qualitatively different experience in the release of dramatic tension for some moments between when they do, and don't, know what is going to happen. You, by your own admission above, do not experience a difference. I often do.

I was (thankfully) unspoiled for that moment you speak of, and it was different the first and second times I saw it. That first experience cannot be relived in the same film, unless I completely forget that it happens (which is unlikely in the extreme, barring memory loss in old age).

We are not well-situated to describe subjective emotional experiences (indeed, this is part of why we have poets, I think). There was a shock, confusion, and uncertainty to it that is not there in the same way when you know it is coming.

The human mind processes emotions, and you can't stop it from doing so - when you know the result, you've already had time to think about it, have formed opinions, and preprocess the information. For some, unspoiled, they have an experience of feeling the moments before processing, and feeling the process of processing, if you will, which the spoiled cannot..

I've got a friend who finds those moments... distinctly unpleasant - she likens it to an anxiety attack. She almost never goes out to a movie without first reading a complete plot synopsis for that reason. When we discuss afterwards, there is very clearly a difference in the emotional experience of the film.

So, no, I am not universalizing anything.
 

Hex08

Explorer
Spoilers are frustrating. Generally, they don't bother me, but I like to avoid them because on rare occasions they do ruin the movie. There is an ever-growing list of pop-culture sites that no longer show up in my Google newsfeed because I have blocked them because of spoilers.

I just saw the new Spider-Man movie and a minor plot point was spoiled for me two days ago. It didn't ruin the movie, but it did ruin the emotional impact if that particular scene. It was especially annoying because it was a scene I probably would have had a big reaction to.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I have to say that the only spoilers I KNOW I’ve encountered are the ones I’ve sought out.

I can’t say I’ve noticed anything of the kind on YouTube, for instance. Perhaps between skipping ads whenever possible and my viewing pattern messing with their algorithms, I’m simply not getting targeted with them. 🤷
 

pming

Legend
I am really fed up with the fact that you basically can't both have a presence online -- social media, watching YouTube, visiting Reddit -- and not be able to wait 2 or 3 days to watch a movie or show without being spoiled on the big reveal or whatever. After 6 hours or less, your YouTube feed is filled with videos announcing the thing in the title or on the image. When did this become acceptable? When did the spoiler warning disappear and the waiting period to shout out secrets and endings go away?
When did this happen? I haven't noticed...oh, wait. I'm not on social media and I don't have a cell phone. ;) Well, other than on Youtube, but just avoid anything movie/show related until I want to get informed/spoiled.

Like the Wheel of Time series. I've avoided everything about it. Just binge watched it the other day (23rd/24th). Just like I said I would. Best way for me to enjoy a series. Sometimes I have to wait a year or two though. I'm cool with that.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Dausuul

Legend
You can only be surprised by a plot twist once. Spoilers prevent you from having that unique experience.
Exactly. There is another pleasure in knowing what will happen and watching it come together; but I like to be able to have both. And that second type of enjoyment is heightened by remembering the experience of seeing it for the first time.
 

Bayushi_seikuro

Adventurer
Like….in theory I get what you’re saying, it just doesn’t…make sense to me. Idk maybe it’s just that none of my favorite movies surprised me or maybe being surprised by a story development just doesn’t have the same impact on me as it does on others.

It’s obvious to you what value surprise has, and to me it’s quite obscure.
I think maybe to put it in gaming terms:

Let's say you're invested in a campaign (whatever system). You've sunk time and energy into the campaign. As a player, you generally like or dislike certain NPCs for various reasons. The day before the session, it gets out there's going to be a massive betrayal of the party when you get back to the session.

Whether you know any context about the who or why of the betrayal, no matter how good a player someone is, you are already going to know what's coming. Yes, you can still have a great session and roleplay accordingly, but for a decent amount of players, knowing there's a betrayal coming that session will color their experience by making them have a different kind of tension, the tension of waiting for the trap to go off.

YMMV
 


Reynard

Legend
When did this happen? I haven't noticed...oh, wait. I'm not on social media and I don't have a cell phone. ;) Well, other than on Youtube, but just avoid anything movie/show related until I want to get informed/spoiled.

Like the Wheel of Time series. I've avoided everything about it. Just binge watched it the other day (23rd/24th). Just like I said I would. Best way for me to enjoy a series. Sometimes I have to wait a year or two though. I'm cool with that.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Like I opened with: it's annoying that you can't have both, even for a couple days.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Like I opened with: it's annoying that you can't have both, even for a couple days.

This might be helpful context to the rant-

 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
No one in the theater when I saw Hamilton was unaware that Burr eventually shoots Hamilton. It’s given away in the first song, even if an audience member didn’t know it going in.
I have to admit that I was not expecting this thread to end up spoiling a theater production I haven't yet seen!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Dude, I am explicitly speaking about differences in experience - so clearly, I am not saying it is universal. You are barking up the wrong tree there.
And I am explicitly referring to your last statement, which you later in this post admit was “overstated”. Then, here, you pretend I was referring to your entire post, and seem to use that to accuse me (quite absurdly since I was explicitly trying to figure out why people experience a thing I do not experience) of universalizing.
Well, yes, that's the point. I'm saying that, for some folks, there is a qualitatively different experience in the release of dramatic tension for some moments between when they do, and don't, know what is going to happen. You, by your own admission above, do not experience a difference. I often do.

I was (thankfully) unspoiled for that moment you speak of, and it was different the first and second times I saw it. That first experience cannot be relived in the same film, unless I completely forget that it happens (which is unlikely in the extreme, barring memory loss in old age).

We are not well-situated to describe subjective emotional experiences (indeed, this is part of why we have poets, I think). There was a shock, confusion, and uncertainty to it that is not there in the same way when you know it is coming.

The human mind processes emotions, and you can't stop it from doing so - when you know the result, you've already had time to think about it, have formed opinions, and preprocess the information. For some, unspoiled, they have an experience of feeling the moments before processing, and feeling the process of processing, if you will, which the spoiled cannot..

I've got a friend who finds those moments... distinctly unpleasant - she likens it to an anxiety attack. She almost never goes out to a movie without first reading a complete plot synopsis for that reason. When we discuss afterwards, there is very clearly a difference in the emotional experience of the film.

So, no, I am not universalizing anything.
Fair enough.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think @Umbran explaining,not stating an immutable truth.

I get that you don't have a negative reaction to spoilers, but surely you can understand why other people might.
Not Beyond a vague “I know it’s a thing that happens because people have very strong reactions to it happening.”
I have to admit that I was not expecting this thread to end up spoiling a theater production I haven't yet seen!
I considered a spoiler thingie for non-Americans who haven’t seen it, but I figured a historical event from 1804 could reasonably just be discussed openly, regardless. 😅
 


Longspeak

Explorer
I am really fed up with the fact that you basically can't both have a presence online -- social media, watching YouTube, visiting Reddit -- and not be able to wait 2 or 3 days to watch a movie or show without being spoiled on the big reveal or whatever. After 6 hours or less, your YouTube feed is filled with videos announcing the thing in the title or on the image. When did this become acceptable? When did the spoiler warning disappear and the waiting period to shout out secrets and endings go away?
It IS possible, with careful curation, to avoid spoilers. I've managed it for a few years.

But it also means I don't participate in entire segments of the online community. I used to frequent another well-known gaming forum, and it had a subforum dedicated to media. It was awful with spoilers so I stopped. I used to be part of the stackexchange for movies and TV, but it's worse, with spoilers in almost every question title. So I stopped.

I was actually so successful that when we got the Disney channel for a month for a promo, I was like "hey look, they made a Black Widow movie finally."

For Youtube, I have consistently told it not to show me entire channels that seem to exist for the sole purpose of ruining movies for you. If you start today, you might avoid spoilers for movies from later this year. :p
 
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Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
I considered a spoiler thingie for non-Americans who haven’t seen it, but I figured a historical event from 1804 could reasonably just be discussed openly, regardless. 😅
In this case American history books and the Star Trek original series episode "The Squire of Gothos" did that rather well.
I'll freely admit that my American history is pretty patchy, and although I watched The Squire of Gothos relatively recently, I didn't associate that with Hamilton at all. That said, I didn't really mind the spoiler. Chances are that I'll have forgotten it long before I ever get a chance to see Hamilton in the theater. I just wasn't expecting a spoiler in a thread ranting about spoilers :p
 

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