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This is the particularly aggravating practice of using spoiler tags that make it quite clear what they're concealing by their length and/or position, or the wording of the surrounding sentence. This, of course, defeats the entire point of using them at all. Often, even if they can't tell the specifics, it can lead the reader to have a fair idea just from the fact that there's something spoilery there.

Sometimes people don't seem to be aware of which words should be spoilered in order to make the sentence both understandable and non-spoilery to people who don't want to be spoiled. For instance, it goes without saying that examples on the Luke, I Am Your Father page all have a certain kind of spoiler, so rather than saying:

  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader is his father.

...where you are attempting to hide details already obvious by the fact that you are on a page named "Luke, I Am Your Father", you can make it:

  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader is his father.

Which explains why the example is on that page, but doesn't give up the details (though admittedly, the details of this one are long since spoiled anyway)

Doing it this way:

  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader is his father.

or this way:

  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader is his father.

is less than worthless, because the first is left saying nothing at all, while the second one hides the most important part of the example (the name of the work).

The best workaround in a case where a Self Fulfilling Spoiler seems necessary is to rephrase it until it isn't. For instance, if a character's gender turns out not to be what the viewer/reader/player was led to believe it was, it doesn't do much good to put the correct pronoun in spoiler tags. But "the time her arm was injured provides a good example of this" can be changed to "the arm injury provides a good example of this" (opinions about "passive voice" aside). This can require some creativity.

Be particularly careful with short names: If you say "In Harry Potter, Ron has a wand with a unicorn hair core", it's pretty obvious there aren't many characters whose names will fit in a spoiler box of that size, which will make it relatively clear which character you're talking about -- this goes double for any character with a One-Letter Name.

Some tropes, such as The Hero Dies, are inherently spoilers -- their very presence on a work page is a spoiler in and of itself. Generally these should be spoiler-tagged, but even then the trope title can be easily deduced by the length of the spoiler box and its alphabetic placement within the list of tropes (not to mention the URL that displays when you mouse-over the link); or there could be so many that spoiler-tagging them all would render the page downright unreadable. For these sort of cases, an alternate solution is to put all inherently spoilery tropes in a category of their own at the bottom of the page.

This page is a subset of our Spoiler Policy.

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