On Spoilers

When is it okay to mention spoilers without having to provide a spoiler warning? I have finally solved this age-old (i.e. as old as the internet) problem. Put simply, it is a function of how unbelievable the spoiler is and the age of the work in question. Like so:

If the Spoiler Quotient is greater than or equal to 1, then a spoiler warning is required. The OMG Factor is a rating of how unbelievable a given piece of information is, numbered from 0 to 5.

So "Darth Vader is Luke's father" (OMG Factor: 5, Years since release: 29) has a spoiler quotient of 0.17 and is totally fair game. While "the Axiom's autopilot has secretly been ordered to keep humans in space forever" (OMG Factor: 3, Years since release: 1.5) has a spoiler quotient of 2... which means I should've warned you.

Hm. Maybe this thing needs some more work.

6 comments:

Matt Heppe said...

You have something here. What's killing you is the subjective nature of the OMG factor. I'd give the OMG of the Axiom's computer a 1, therefore I'd feel no guilt about mentioning it. Darth Vader definitely gets a 5 in my book.

Bane of Anubis said...

LOL -- you should license this :)

Adam Heine said...

Matt, I think you hit the crux of why spoiler warnings are so difficult to pin.

Bane, it's officially copyrighted, now that it's on the blog. Now to make money off it...

JMay said...

You and your wife foster kids in Thailand!? That's amazing and what an adventure.

Keep up the writing! Fun to find fellow writers on blogger :-)

MattyDub said...

One problem I have with this is that no matter how OMG a movie gets, your system caps it at 5, which means it's available for spoiling in 5 years. There are some movies where explaining the twist ruins the entire movie, and I think you should never spoil them (I can't even mention them here, because if I did, and somebody hadn't seen it, the fact that it's a "twist movie" would in itself be a spoiler). And so while I agree that there's a statute of limitations, I don't think it's linear as you've described.
-Matt

Adam Heine said...

Matty, I agree with you that spoilers are pretty subjective. I think what it comes down to is that, while I would never spoil certain books/movies, I can agree that it should be okay to spoil them because they're so dang old.

However the idea of a non-linear equation intrigues me...