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Scafloc

Proposal for a new spoiler policy

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The reason I started this topic is that I want to discuss a new policy how to deal with spoilers. NB as discussing goes best with the use of examples this post itself will include a number of possible spoilers!

First I think we have to define what spoilers are. In some aspects basically everything in the books can be seen as spoilers in a sense that they give new information. Sometimes this information can be about secrets or major character evolvements. But if everything is a spoiler than we cannot freely tell anything so this view is not very usefull.

For me spoilers are major (character) developments:

  • Characters getting killed
  • Marriages
  • New alliances or broken alliances
  • Battles, wars
  • Natural disasters

I think it would be great if we could prevent that readers accidentally read about events on the wiki before they have read the book or seen the tv episode in which it takes places. They should be able to check the wiki so they remember who is who without accidentally reading about new developments.

An event as described above can be seen as a spoiler at a certain point in the books or series. After we have passed it we are familiar with the event and it ceases to be a spoiler for us. So there is defining point for each spoiling event

My preference for a policy how to deal with thisis to set this defining point on the book level. For instance for the Red Wedding this would mean that we do not describe nor reference this in paragraphs that discusss the first two books!!! When a certain paragraph discusses A Storm of Swords then information about the Red Wedding is allowed.

The reason for this is that it is clear and easy as most articles are divided in paragraphs corresponding with the books. As the wiki allows us to use collabsible tables we can hide the content of paragraphs. As an example I have copied the Tyrion Lannister article to the Sandbox and added collapsible tables per book. Check it out to see how it works!

Other suggestions:

  • No spoilers in article names -> I'd like to remove articles like "House Foote of Nightsong". Information about House Foote getting this seat can go to House Foote or Philip_Foote where we disclose this info using collabsible tables
  • No spoilers in summaries of the article where this is possible -> For instance in our feature article Jaime Lannister the summary says he becomes a POV character in the 3rd book thus divulging he was not killed by Brienne/Catelyn in the end of the 2nd book. In my opinion this is a very minor spoiler and as Jaime becomes a major character in A Storm of Swords I think this is acceptable
  • Family trees should not contain spoiler information. See for instance the family trees of House Lannister. The information that Tywin died can go to his page (and the House Lannister article). We do not need it in the family tree. That Joanne Lannister is already dead is on the other hand useful information for new readers.
  • "General templates" should not contain spoiler information. For instance the template HousesNorth should have house Stark as great house. I know that the Boltons are made the paramount house in ASOS but imagine that the Starks would regain it. Will we change the template again? I think it is better to describe these events in the articles and leave these general templates with the info of the beginning of the books.
  • Character template: my preference would be to always hide the parts that could contain spoiler information. With this I mean that characters that are unmarried and alive at the begin of the books should always have the sections "Spouse" and "Died" hidden. This would mean a change in this template.
  • Categories: no change. It is true that by going to certain categories the reader may read spoilers (for instance if after Category:Members of the Kingsguard he would go to Robert Strong) but it takes some stepps meaning the spoilers are not at once plain in sight and also I don;t think there is a good solution; not adding Robert Strong to the category is too much

So let me hear your thoughts!

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Your suggestion would orient the entire Wiki to just serving newbies and requiring extra effort to get basic facts about the later books. I would find this a poor idea, both as a reader and as an editor. I am really weary of ideas like censoring templates and family trees.

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Censoring? Please explain because I don't understand what you mean.

You suggest removing all information from templates that was not available during the first book. And frankly the first book was the least informative of them all. You would be removing key information from family trees, and be omitting any references to characters, Houses, and organizations introduced and thoroughly explored over an entire series.

Your idea of a Baratheon family tree. for example, would only feature Robert as a monarch, exclude most of his bastards (who were not really featured much prior to "Clash"), and hide their familial connections to the Targaryens. Making it practically useless as a source of information.

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Ehm that is a rather incomplete reproduction of my proposal.

I said that events that happen during the books should be told in the paragraphs that handle that part of the books. That means the info is still there so I don't think the term "Censoring" is applicable. Let's keep the discussion fair shall we?

I was not planning to keep Robert's bastards out of the Baratheon tree. There existence is not exactly a secret. It is just that we are not introduced to them. That is no reason to keep them out.

Jon's parents, if and when we are told of them, is another matter. That is a big part of the story line. So yes in that case I would argue that we disclose that information only in the paragraphs that handle that part of the books (for each involved character).

The same for the Baratheon - Targ link: Why would I want to hide it? That is part of history when the first book begin. For most characters we tell someting about their background in the"history" paragraph. Check some if you like. Often the references are from multiple books, not just the first one.

I think that my suggestions match very well with how we said articles should be.There was a strong preference for grouping the information per book. And there has been previous discussions about the using a show/hide feature.

My major problem is with article names like "House Frey of Riverrun". Or what would be worse "House Slynt of Harrenhal". If you do that you take a moving point time to tell something. It means you may have to change the article names a few times; when a new books comes out. Or even worse whenever there has been a reading of a new chapter...

Also I'd like to point out that not all of our articles are up-to-date. So this could mean that in one article we say that somebody is married to one person and in another that same person is married to another person. And we present booth as the current situation...

If we choose a fixed starting point (the time A Game of Thrones begin) we will not have these kind of problems.

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Also I'd like to point out that not all of our articles are up-to-date.

Which is a problem that can be addressed whenever an interested editor actually bothers to update them. I am not sure whether a new policy can really affect articles which have failed to attract much attention.

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Which is a problem that can be addressed whenever an interested editor actually bothers to update them. I am not sure whether a new policy can really affect articles which have failed to attract much attention.

The point is that if we agree that info in character templates and so reflect the situation at the begin of the books there will be less chance of contradictions or inconsistencies. This is because the situation at the begin of the books is fixed. Where as if the info those templates can reflect the situation at the time of any book and even that of spoiler template there much more chance that it will not be consisten with other pages in which newer info has not been processed.

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While I do support some kind of mechanism for Spoilers prevention, I believe your proposal is too ambitious and I must second Dimadick's replies. It is a Wiki and a if new reader starts going through it then he should expect to be spoiler'd, at least to some extent.

My spoiler control proposal would be to create tags (as in small rectangular templates on top of pages) advising that the article contains spoilers and this would be applied to subjects with information from newly released materials (until a few months after official US publication).

I'm still pondering wether or not make of it a topic since I'm not sure of what you think of it.

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The period after the release of new material is only part of the problem.

There are still new readers. These are the people that do not appreciate to see in the family tree that Renly and Eddard are dead.

And in a few week we have the begin of the new season of the HBO series. You can count that this will result in major traffic to the wiki. A lot of people will want to check who this or that person was.

Your suggestion does not address this; it is incomplete Besides that it is arbitrary (which articles do you include, for what period) time consuming (editing numerous pages and later removing them and after new material doing this again).

Then I'd rather have no spoiler prevention at all.

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Scafloc what you suggest is a total modification to the Wiki just so new readers don't get spoiler'd. Well I couldn't disagree more, it is a Wiki and a Wiki documents all the facts, so if someone decides to go read through it, he SHOULD expect to be spoiled. The wiki serves as an encyclopedia (to look for references) for all readers, not just for the new guys. My proposal is not to help newbies not getting spoiled but actually to warn frequent readers that the article contains information from new material that they likely haven't bought yet.

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Show me where I said that we should not mention facts.

You can't because I didn't.

What I said was that new events like marriages, deaths should not be included in the character or family templates. They should be mentioned in the paragraphs that deal the event.

And to prevent spoilers in article title is common sense.

We now have a House Frey of Riverrun. The content on that page is also on the page of house frey and on that of house tully and on that of Emmon Frey. I do not have the impression that the house Frey of rivverrun article adds anything to the wiki.

The problem with the facts in the templates is that seem to indicate a "current date" which is arbitrary, keeps on changing and thus is error prone. Keeping the data there fixed solves that problem.

Also for readers it is more clear.

Btw on La Guarde de Nuit they have been using show/hide tables to prevent spoilers. And that has been proposed here as well. The reason we did not go through with it was that articles looked less good. And I think that is solved now.

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I disagree about the houses. The only place where it becomes a spoiler is in the infoboxes at the bottom of the page, where for example you could see that Tully was no longer of Riverrun. Slynt of Harrenhal, unless you've read all of the accompanying material could quite possibly have been a lord of Harrenhal in the past. Ditto for Foote. If it said Philip Foote of Nightsong, then you know that something happened to the Carons because Philip is a coexisting character. Frey of Riverrun is spoilerish, as is Bolton of Winterfell and Spicer of Castamere because in the first book it is established that certain houses have always held those plalces and in the case of Castamere...it was a hole in the ground.

Also about the House Frey of Riverrun article. Right now it might not add anything to the wiki, but we know going forward that Freys are gonna die. You might end up with an inheritance of Riverrun. There is also no guarantee that the Tullys are going to get Riverrun back. I've never seen Martin state that Riverrun will revert. You never know, the Freys in Riverrun could survive while the ones in the Twins wipe themselves out. At this point we don't know. The reason why this was done in the first place was to establish other houses that held those titles. It's House Whent, but also House Qoherys, House Strong, etc. During the Dunk and Egg stories it's House Targaryen of Dragonstone, not Baratheon. I'm not sure how we deal with those unless you want to remove the titles from the House names. House Vance would have to be put as one, since we now know that House Vance of Atranta is the senior of the two. Ditto for all the Greyjoy holdings and a large number of the Iron Isles houses in general.

Personally the houses should be left alone. I don't know how you don't get spoiled looking at a House page. See the thing is, is that none of these changes have been accepted by any of the other kings. Stark doesn't recognize Bolton or Frey. I doubt Stannis would accept Foote or Tyrell at Brightwater Keep. I don't think Euron cares one way or another.

On the other hand, what could be done for example for the family trees is book appropriate family trees. For example, we put in the Tyrell family tree at the start of ASOiAF. That would be Tyrell basic. Then another tree with the updated information from each book. So the information from ACOK would be TyrellACOK and then ASOS, and so on. Only the basic would go on the character pages while the up-to-date one would go on the house page under a spoiler tag.

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While I reckon that being spoiler'd sucks, and I agree that doing something to avoid spoiling the fun for newcomers would be cool, I don't think that changing the whole wiki to hide 'spoilery' info would work, since some important facts or plot twists happen on the very first book (Ned) so, where should we start hiding info? Just going to any character's profile you can see all his/her alias, titles, DoB, DoD, spouses. Everything, without even reading the summary or details about the char. There will always be spoilers when reading about a char. Anyone reading a wiki knows that, and for those who don't maybe a large red, bolded banner warning of spoilers could be placed on such entries, such as "contains spoilers of XXXX book"

On the other hand, what could be done for example for the family trees is book appropriate family trees. For example, we put in the Tyrell family tree at the start of ASOiAF. That would be Tyrell basic. Then another tree with the updated information from each book. So the information from ACOK would be TyrellACOK and then ASOS, and so on. Only the basic would go on the character pages while the up-to-date one would go on the house page under a spoiler tag.

When you say TyrellACOK you mean that tree is suitable for those who already finished ACOK, right? since some people still reading might be spoiled of something that hasn't yet happened (a death or marriage) Am I right? :P

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I don't think the wiki should be concerned with the avoidance of spoilers at all, for a number of reasons. I lean towards Dimadick's thought that it's a form of censorship.

No-one is being forced to consult the wiki, nor any particular page therein. I didn't consult it until I started my SECOND reading of the series, because I wanted to have a more in-depth, enriched and informed experience. A lot of information, particularly that pertaining to events that happened before the narrative start of the books (Dany's meeting Drogo, Waymare Royce's ranging, Jon Arryn's death) is so scattered throughout all the books that it can only be understood by reading pages like "Robert's Rebellion," Tournament at Harrenhal" and "Tower of Joy." Those are so important to a proper appreciation of the events that occur within the narrative that they should almost be required reading before you crack "A Game of Thrones." But some details aren't revealed until Barristan gets a POV in "A Dance with Dragons." Anyway, it brings up the question of whether or not something that occurs BEFORE and OUTSIDE of the books' narrative stream could ever be considered a spoiler at all.

I'm probably the exception or in the minority in that I can get just as much or even more pleasure from reading something when I know how it turns out or what happens next - the 'informed experience' I refer to above. And I can definitely say that's the case with ASoIaF, particularly with the books where new characters, points of view and locations were prominent ("A Clash of Kings," "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons".)

The first time through the series I tended to rush through those chapters that introduced Ironborn or Dornish characters, Griff and his entourage, Quentyn and his entourage, and all those sellsword companies. The obvious reason for that is that the first, uninformed reading you have 'plot fever.' You just want to find out what happens next to the characters you're already familiar with and emotionally invested in. (For me that was Arya, Jon, Tyrion, Bran, Sansa, Dany and Catelyn..) I felt that reading about Balon Greyjoy or Doran Martell was just intruding on my time and interfering with the 'real' story.

The second time through I was more relaxed about it, more informed, I was starting to see how these sub-plots fit into the overall scheme of things - and only then could I appreciate that a lot of those chapters were very well-written and added 'meat' to the story. So I wasn't 'spoiled' in any sense by knowing the events up to the end of "A Dance with Dragons" - not one little bit. Maybe that's just me.

I'm sorry I explained that in such long-winded detail but I thought it important to stress my main point. When reading literature, ignorance of the outcome is highly over-rated. IMnsHO, of course.

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The talk about censorship confuses me. I never said that we should censor information. I never said that we should not say thing. So where does this accusation comes from?

Come on people. There is no problem having preferences and taking a side but your side does not get any stronger my misrepresenting the case of your opponent.

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The talk about censorship confuses me. I never said that we should censor information. I never said that we should not say thing. So where does this accusation comes from?

Come on people. There is no problem having preferences and taking a side but your side does not get any stronger my misrepresenting the case of your opponent.

The thing is, it is hard to approve of proposal. We write the Wiki to supply all of the relevant info and not go partial and write it to two different groups making it far more complexed.

In all honesty, we've already taken measures against spoilers and that is by placing templates and such on the bottom while the intro will provide all the info that someone who is still reading needs, without spoiler'ing anything. If someone goes all way through the article to get to the templates, they will be the least of this person's concerns since at that point he's crossed paths with the entire "Recent events" text sections.

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Writing to different groups, partial information? Please explain. I don't think I suggested anything remotely resembling that.

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