Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A spoiler is a summary or description of a narrative (or part of a narrative) that relates plot elements not revealed early in the narrative itself. Moreover, because enjoyment of the plot depends on dramatic tension and suspense, this early revelation of plot elements "spoils" the enjoyment that consumers of the narrative would otherwise have experienced.
In recent years, spoilers have mostly appeared on specialist Internet sites and in newsgroup postings. In these cases, the spoilers are mostly directed at film endings. Usually the spoiling information is preceded by a warning, or the spoiler has to be highlighted before it can be visibly read on the web page. But in recent years these warnings have been omitted, and some unwitting readers have had their favourite films spoiled.
On Usenet the common method for obscuring spoiler information is to precede it with many blank lines known as "spoiler space", traditionally enough to push the information on to the next screen of a 25-line terminal. A simple encipherment using ROT13 is also used in newsgroups to obscure spoilers, but is rarely used for this purpose elsewhere.
A classic spoiler example occurred in 1999. Someone calling himself Mr. Spoilsport posted a message to the newsgroup alt.fan.starwars and spoiled the long awaited Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace. The post caused some subscribers to the Star Wars newsgroup to read the spoiler without having to open the article, since the spoiler was put in the subject field of the message.
This angered many alt.fan.starwars subscribers, since although they were fans of Star Wars, many had been waiting 20 years for the prequel, and running up to premiere of the film, they had been making a conscious effort not to read any spoilers. Although the original posts by Mr. Spoilsport have been deleted and wiped from the Internet by angry alt.fan.starwars moderators, many of the replies are still available here: .
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