|Do you become an avatar of death when you see a spoiler?|
[as with my last editorial, I'll stick to the "show" example, so I don't have to say "show/game" every time]
So, I won't talk about my own personal experiences or about how spoilers ruin shows, or whatever. What I will talk about is the one (or at least, one of very few) instances in which a spoiler is acceptable; in a long review. Now, there are a lot of people who believe that all reviews should be spoiler free, because reviews are usually for those who have yet to watch the show. However, let's think about the literal meaning of the word review - "to view again." When we review things, we sometimes want to talk about specific points and how they relate to the whole. For instance, lets suppose that I used no spoilers in my Hidan no Aria impression. Rather than showing the multiple instances of plot inconsistencies and why they were inconsistencies, I would have to tell you that there were multiple plot inconsistencies. Showing almost always leaves a stronger impression than telling does. Strength of arguments aside, though, there's also the fact that looking at some things in closer detail requires us to reveal certain things about the plot and characters. For instance, suppose I wanted to talk specifically about why Rygart from Break Blade has his cowardice, as opposed to just describing his character in general. I would need to reference several things about his past, focusing on a few specific examples that support my points (e.g. a flashback where we see him being bullied). I would also need to point to a few revealing points about his character's actions and words that he uses in the story itself. Trying to create any kind of argument or strong opinion without these things would be nigh-impossible. Compare:
I) A statement with no spoilers: "Rygart's cowardice stems from his past. This is shown by the things he says in the story."
II) A statement with spoilers (not really, because I don't want to spoil the show for you. These don't happen): "Rygart's cowardice stems from the several beatings he had in his past, especially that one time [which I (hypothetically) brought up earlier] he tried to be brave and it totally backfired. This is really shown by the way he says, 'If I'm brave, I'm going to die!"
Now, again, these don't actually contain spoilers of Break Blade (at least, I think), but they do show what I'm trying to say pretty well. I mean, compare the two statements above. Which is stronger? (Don't answer that, because it's a rhetorical question.) The answer is pretty clearly II. However, statement II obviously requires spoilers. The reviewer has to reveal parts about Rygart's character that a person who hasn't seen or read Break Blade before wouldn't know. Revealing those "spoils" the story, or at least Rygart's character. Does that mean people should never use statement II? Well, I think that no, they certainly should use statement II. To forbid people the use the spoilers is to forbid them the ability to look at things in closer detail and to share a deeper meaning they got out of it. Indeed, what's the point of reviewing - viewing again - if you can't share the new details you got out of that additional viewing? And while there certainly is the point of recommending or warning against certain shows for other people, that's reviewing in the common sense of the word - which is really recommending(/recommending against).
Of course, I don't think spoilers are good. And there's certainly no excuse for spoiling without any good reason. But if one needs to review something and can't make their points nearly as well without revealing some part of the story, then I say go for it. This is not very surprising, as my reviews, while they rarely go into such detailed explications as the one mentioned in the example was, do often contain (usually minor) spoilers. My way of getting around this is simply to try to denote first off at the beginning if a review is going to have spoilers in it. Additionally, I try to denote specific areas of my reviews with "SPOILERS" warnings. And lastly, I try to not spoil anything particularly major even in those parts (if I can help it). I don't know is my system is good or bad, but I haven't gotten any complaints yet, so...
What do you think? Do you agree that spoilers are acceptable in certain situations (and if so, which situations), or do you think that they should always be kept out of all reviews?