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Forum: The Situation Room > Spoiler Policy... toss it?

Our spoiler policy was established less than 24 hours after the Main Page itself was created. It's old. And I have upheld it for years because it was policy... but not because I agreed with it. There is no reason other than consensus that we have to keep upholding it; old as it may be, it is not written in stone. How would everyone feel about amending it?

And by amending it, I mean we essentially wave goodbye to it.

Nobody benefits from it but the veteran editors. We're essentially just patting ourselves on the back when we revert a spoiler. All of us have already seen the "next episode" clips, and almost everyone is already aware of what actors are coming on board. What is being spoiled? That so-and-so is returning to the show? That Jack goes into a room with his gun drawn next episode? It seems so silly. And who are we protecting? We're not protecting ourselves, because we're the ones reverting them and reading them.

Worst of all, we're forcing our own encyclopedia to not be the most up-to-date resource for 24 online. No new person comes along and says "Look, a 24 wiki, I bet it's a safe place from spoilers". No. It does not happen. And nobody actually reads the tiny fine print on the Main Page. People might become aware of our policy when their edits become reverted, but many of them simply do not know to read their User Talk page where we explain the revert. They just see their edit disappear, become disillusioned, and never return.

This crotchety policy is a turn-off for many potential new editors in other ways too. Imagine coming to the wiki for the first time, and not seeing well-publicized facts about future episodes and the upcoming mini-series. We must look like a dusty crypt. Nothing but old content. I can almost hear the visiting anons shouting cautiously, "Hellooo? anyone in there?" Who wants to join a wiki that, at worst, looks like its community abandoned it years ago, or at best, looks like the community isn't even interested in the newest developments? Remember: we LOOK like we're not interested in the new material because we forbid the new material to be here. The proof is in how many new anons come and add spoilers. There are so many because that is a primary point of interest.

Now we can keep a part of the policy that forbids obvious stuff like leaked episodes, and leaked scripts. But overall I say the time has come to slap {{defunct}} on the spoiler page, put it in our past, and join the present. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 06:22, November 26, 2013 (UTC)

If there is a dearth of visitors lately, I would mainly put that on there just not being any 24 for the last three years... but I absolutely agree. Support! --Pyramidhead (talk) 09:12, November 26, 2013 (UTC)
Hopefully this means I can break out this puppy without getting in trouble. :) --Pyramidhead (talk) 09:35, November 26, 2013 (UTC)
I'm strongly against this change. Wiki 24 was based off of Memory Alpha, which still holds the exact same policy, despite having a far larger fan base and user base, and much more material. The reason for the policy extends beyond posting spoilers. IU information can be changed prior to airing, and promos and press releases can be notoriously misleading.
And as it stands, the policy only forbids spoiler information for IU articles. MA has spoiler templates for OOU articles about upcoming material. There's no reason we can't do the same. --proudhug (talk) 20:02, November 26, 2013 (UTC)
So, ignoring for a moment the eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the room that proudhug is actually here, I don't agree that our policies have to mirror MA's anymore. That being said, IU information is changed after airing too. Retcons, novels, spin-offs, inconsistencies between episodes, you name it. A desire to avoid changing information simply because it might change later would require us to hold off writing almost anything.
Now when you mention that our policy forbids spoilers in IU articles, think about it: most of the "spoilers" are just people adding stuff anticipatorily to BGIN or the info box. And BGIN/infoboxes are a clearly OOU components of articles. And if it turns out to be wrong or misleading after-the-fact? You just erase it from the info box, or rephrase the note to say "promotional materials before the release of X incorrectly alluded to the fact that Y would happen". Presto! Blue Rook  talk  contribs 05:33, November 27, 2013 (UTC)
I don't think we should ditch the policy, but maybe add some flexibility to it perhaps? For example, stuff that can be seen on an official trailer can maybe be built upon. But nowadays, with Internet leaks and piracy, and the new miniseries coming next year, who knows what can get posted and spoiled during its run. Thief12 (talk) 01:14, November 28, 2013 (UTC)
I agree with more flexibility and the Wiki being up to date with officially released material. But not like inferring who is gonna be the next president or whatever based off someone's tweets.
I also don't think it's a great idea to get around the spoiler policy by putting "User:XXX/" in front of the articles being created. They're just as visible and accessible and it kind of precludes other people from editing them. I know userspace is a free for all, do what you want, but I think it's just as much of a spoiler as if we created the pages in the mainspace--Acer4666 (talk) 13:52, November 28, 2013 (UTC)
How about this: officially pre-released material (episode clips on TV, FOX website stuff, press releases and communication sourced to the show-runners) are now good to be placed in OOU content. OOU content includes OOU articles and also BGIN/info-boxes in IU articles because those are OOU components.
  1. Everything that constitutes what we used to consider a "spoiler", but is now permitted, is called "official pre-released material"
  2. Things which are still forbidden under the new rules will still be labeled "spoilers" and are such things as fan websites, information leaks, fan tweets, the usual.
Simple, right! Easy-to-follow! I'm very enthusiastic about this. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 02:14, December 4, 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, that sounds just like what Memory Alpha actually does now - all last year they were expanding Into Darkness and creating new cast/crew pages as information came out. If it means getting a leg up on that kind of thing rather than scrambling to do it as new episodes come out, absolutely. But I do support using the spoiler-lad template or something similar so spoiler-averse folks know what they're walking into (though I guess just seeing that on, say, Kim Raver's page spoils you anyway...). --Pyramidhead (talk) 03:06, December 4, 2013 (UTC)
Another option is to section off spoilery sections of articles with a smaller inline template:
Possible spoilers for 24: Live Another Day follow...
End of Live Another Day spoilers.
--Pyramidhead (talk) 03:32, December 4, 2013 (UTC)
So what's the consensus here? Seems like most are in favor of at least some kind of change. --Pyramidhead (talk) 20:16, December 18, 2013 (UTC)
The worry for me is that this would possibly weaken our standards of what is an acceptable source information to be included on the website. The four things Blue Rook mentioned seem like a good standard to take (depending on the definition of "show-runner"). But I'd say announcements by performers on their twitter/websites is not allowable, and imdb is right out. It's also hard to judge stuff like the recent David Fury tweet of "I'm having dinner with Carlos Bernard read into that what you will".--Acer4666 (talk) 22:48, December 18, 2013 (UTC)
Certainly, things like IMDb updates shouldn't be included; only info from actual news sources or production people. With regard to the CB tweet, I would favor leaving that in for now - people are coming here to find out everything that there is to know about the new series, and a writer teasing the possibility of Tony coming back certainly counts. --Pyramidhead (talk) 21:57, December 19, 2013 (UTC)
OK, I have some furthe thoughts on this:
  • The information we are gleaning from press releases and hints from David Fury are a different kind of information to what we usually deal with here. In that, I won't believe that any actor has anything to do with 24 until I see them appear in a 24 episode. This stuff can be subject to change - so, while creating cast/crew pages for people who have been mentioned officially is OK, I think we should limit the spread of this information throughout the wiki until it has been completely verified (ie, when the episodes have been released). So navigation templates, on this day stuff, performers with multiple roles, I don't think should have pre-released material alongside the actual information that we know for sure.
  • I also disagree with having information in the sidebars of in-universe articles. I think the notes section is fine, but to say we "last" saw someone in Live Another Day, or to list stuff as canon in the sidebar when it's not even been released yet isn't great, whereas in a note it can be explained we're talking about stuff that hasn't happened yet, and where we got the information from. The sidebar, with it's no-context info fields, doesn't seem like a place for unsure facts.
Any thoughts, so we can update the spoiler policy page?--Acer4666 (talk) 17:06, December 26, 2013 (UTC)
Agree on both points, mostly. I think if somebody is announced in a role, then even if they get replaced by someone else at the last minute, they're still a person who was involved in working on 24 at some stage so they should still have articles and have their birthday, etc. recorded. After the movie got canned, we didn't delete the article and scrub all references to it! About those actor images... I think it should be okay to upload temporary images with the understanding that they'll be replaced with allowable images as soon as any are available. That's why I put the images needing replacement template on them. I hate to drag out the "MA does it" canard again but they do. --Pyramidhead (talk) 20:37, December 26, 2013 (UTC)
Hm, with the actor images I don't think I could support an official change to the image policy - to me, we're changing the policy here to (a) inform people coming here for up to date news and (b) saving a large rush of work when the first episode airs, and I don't think uploading images that have to be replaced anyway does either of those things. Dunno what others think?--Acer4666 (talk) 21:50, December 26, 2013 (UTC)

Just weighing in some thoughts. One of my main concerns is episode/plot spoilers. If we can cover that, that takes most of my worries away. However, my second main concern has to do with the overload of unsourced information, gossips, tweets, and whatnot. Some of you have already offered some good alternatives to these and I trust your judgment about that. Still, I think we should establish some boundaries. For example, not allowing the creation of articles on every single episode months before they air, or creating articles on characters weeks before they appear. I think that's something that should remain as-is. My .02 cents. Thief12 (talk) 22:32, December 26, 2013 (UTC)

It just sounds like we should just lock down the new episode pages or just refrain from adding any complete episode information until after all of them have aired. For instance, it would technically be fair game to now write about the 24 India show because it has completed it's first year run. Often times, during the airings of Season 7 and 8, I noticed many people going to town on describing absolutely everything about the episode when they could've talked about it slightly more subtle terms.

I agree with what Thief12 is saying in that the policy sort of contradicts itself but I also believe that everyone else has made relevant points in that it must still be maintained as well as doing acceptable information citing. I will simply say that it would just be good to lock down the new episode pages since it won't be that long a wait since it isn't much of a wait (12 weeks versus 24 weeks).--Gunman6 (talk) 21:48, December 27, 2013 (UTC)

Funny enough, that problem should be taken care of this year - there's no telling what a given episode will be titled with the time jumps, which will make it hard to mess them up ahead of time. --Pyramidhead (talk) 18:31, December 28, 2013 (UTC)

Informal addition Edit

Maybe not something that needs to be "official," but can we refrain from needlessly giving away plot details about future seasons on articles that have nothing to do with said seasons? Only today just noticed that every dead main character has a ridiculous list of all 13+ main characters who die later on! First off (a) this is incredibly tedious to maintain and update every time someone bites it, and (b) how does it benefit the Teri Bauer article to spoil the death of a character who isn't introduced until sixteen years later? I can easily imagine someone just finishing Season 1 coming to read the article and stumbling into reading every surprise death for the rest of the series. Terrible! Makes much more sense (and easier) to list that kind of thing in one place anyway, isn't it? --Pyramidhead (talk) 23:17, March 13, 2017 (UTC)

Hmm...I do see some of your reasons for move the character deaths into the Main cast page without using the character pages and I starting to think it is true. I just think we should keep the number of main characters deaths while they were on the main cast, like Teri Bauer was the first, Edgar Stiles as the third, Bill Buchanan as the fifth, Renee Walker as the eighth, Audrey Boudreau as the twelfth and such without using the names of the others who died before & after them. I do agree with your suggestion about it, let's just make some compromises about what should be removed or kept. BattleshipMan (talk) 23:27, March 13, 2017 (UTC)
Hey, sorry for not discussing first, just shocked me to find all that down there. I think it's fine to mention it on the character page but again it's completely pointless to list them all every time. How about this:
George Mason is the second character portrayed by a main cast member to die in 24.
So there's a link to see the rest but no spoilers as to who they are. Also I think the numbering should take into account actors who were recurring but used to be main actors like on that new list. --Pyramidhead (talk) 23:35, March 13, 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I like that actually. Let's see what the others say about it. BattleshipMan (talk) 23:37, March 13, 2017 (UTC)
Agreed that it's silly to list it every time. We took a similar action with the recurring antagonists that were on every page.
However, I'd probably slightly re-word the note to:
George Mason is the second character portrayed by a main cast member to die in 24. For the others, see here.
To combat the "spoiler" issue you mention. Someone clicking on the link text "second character" isn't necessarily gonna expect to see all of the others listed, so I think it's better to be explicit about what we're linking them to--Acer4666 (Talk) 20:13, March 14, 2017 (UTC)
That specific note about members of the main cast being killed could've been considered relevant several seasons ago, when it was sorta rare (Teri in S1, and then Edgar in S5? or was there someone in between?). Anyway, in recent years, it has become a bit more frequent and I think the note has lost notability. If anything, highlighting Teri as the first member of the main cast to be killed should be enough. Thief12 (talk) 21:59, March 14, 2017 (UTC)
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