How often did you visit a Website to get some information on your favorite TV show and found information that you didn't want to know because it's related to an episode you never seen yet? This is called a "spoiler", from the verb "to spoil", an element of a story that reveals an important part of that story and sometimes ruin any surprises.
When someone finishes a game or watch a TV series episode, he sometime feels the need to tell the other what he discovered. While it's a valuable information for a wikia, it may gets the others who didn't get to that point yet angry. No one wants to stumble upon a picture of a dead guy in a series or a game when, for them, he is still alive.
It can have a negative effect to your readers: usually it happens once and they don't come back to avoid to be spoiled again. They may want some information but not the whole story.
While Wikipedia considers spoiler alerts are no good, wikias are much more specific and preventing users to get spoil about your topic should improve its image. In this blog post we'll give you some tips on how to handle spoilers on your wikia.
First, you have to decide what a spoiler is for your community, for example:
- Any information, picture or video about a game until 3 months has passed after the game release
- Any information, picture or video about an episode until 1 month after it's aired on a specific channel
Then create a policy page about spoilers in the "project" namespace to explicit your choice, eg. FR Playground Wiki:Spoilers.
Note : you may want, for simplicity or an other reason, not to allow any information that falls under your "spoilers" definition. If so, state it clearly on the above page and that any such change will be reverted. You can ignore the sections below.
Main page is the front door of your wikia, so warn your readers there with a box linking to the above page, eg. Template:BoiteAccueil/Spoilers.
Also be careful of not letting any spoiler information to be shown on the main page. If you have an activity feed on your main page, think it could show changes related to spoilers.
If you display news blog post on your main page, add "(spoilers)" at the beginning of your post title to warn the users and avoid to display too much characters.
Use Template:Spoiler to hide any spoiler information on a page. Be careful to group the spoilers information to avoid dozen of boxes sparsed on the page.
If the whole page is a spoiler (like episode page), put a banner on top like Template:Spoilers.
With the categories added by these templates, it helps you track the spoilers and remove the warning when time has come.
Also, be careful not to let any spoiler information in infoboxes (like when a character died). While you can use Template:Spoiler in there too, it may indicate to the user that something will happen, which is not what we want.
Forum and walls
Create a "Spoilers" board so user can talk freely about spoilers. You can then move the discussion to an other board once the spoiler type expires.
Finally, be also aware of if readers see you have a spoiler policy, they'll read the unmask text carelessly so, as admin, be very careful to the information on your wikia.
Did you find that blog useful? How do you handle spoilers on your wikia? Tell us in the comments below!