Thursday, August 11, 2011
missing the point on spoilers
So this study that suggests that people like spoilers is getting a lot of play today. Unfortunately, there seems to be an error going on with a lot of the commentary. The whole point of spoilers is that they're unchosen; nobody really thinks that there's something wrong with people accessing secrets and endings about art they haven't yet consumed. What they object to is when spoilers are presented in a way that an unsuspecting person might unwittingly read them. The study suggests that people have a preference for knowing the ending, but preference involves choice. You can't deliberately act on a preference for foreknowledge of plot if you are presented the information without choosing to access it. So I don't see what the point is, exactly. Whether people prefer to know the ending or not is irrelevant to our conduct when it comes to the decision to include spoilers; even if most everybody prefers to know the ending, the point is that some people don't and spoilers should be presented in such a way that people can choose whether to access them.