One good thing about the internet being littered with spoilers is that it opens up some very interesting discussion on when spoilers are appropriate. As someone who really does NOT like spoilers, I do find it neat to learn when, where, and why different people think spoiling things is okay.
My personal stance on spoilers is that if there is something that serves as a twist, affects the plot in a major way, or otherwise affects how you view the story going into it, it's best to have some tact. More on this in a minute, but I think it first and foremost starts with where and how you're sharing things: when we foist things out into social media while live tweeting or facebooking or G+ing things, we hand those spoilers out without any kind of context or warning. I plan to avoid most spoilers in this post, but to illustrate a point, a commonly known one from Harry Potter follows. So, so I don't invalidate my own point I'm trying to make here...if you are for some reason behind on that series, you're about to be spoiled.
Anyway, let's look at Snape Kills Dumbledore. If you were to just tweet "Snape Kills Dumbledore!", or make a post about it, you aren't giving anyone any warning. No context. Maybe someone who started reading the book a few weeks ago but had to put it down because they were busy forgot about it and wasn't really on the look out for spoilers. There's no context, no "we're talking about Harry Potter" to warn you what might be coming. You don't get to choose whether or not you are spoiled, and that kind of sucks.
Take a conversation about Harry Potter, however -- if I'm making a thread about favorite moments from the series and mention when Snape Kills Dumbledore, you don't get to say "Boo, you spoiled me!" because you actively made the choice to go into a discussion about Harry Potter, knowing full well you haven't finished that book yet.
*So, point #1: I think there is some responsibility to keep venue in mind before spoiling. All spoilers were not created equal. * This also goes for avoiding things for specific people once you know they're into it. I'll spoil things til the cows come home if you don't mind, but if I know you're reading that book that I read, I will ask first before spoiling, just in case.
That said, what about the content we're spoiling? If I were to tell you that in my favorite movie set on Mars, eventually they leave Mars and go to another planet, I don't really think that's a big deal, unless the point of the movie is "They Will Never Get Off Mars." I think that no matter how old something is, CARE (not necessarily full censorship) should be taken with major things that drastically affect the plot.
For example, in one of my favorite books, one of the main characters up and dies. There is no warning, this is not a setting where you would even expect death to occur (as opposed to Game of Thrones, where we already know everyone dies, it would seem) and it is extremely unpredictable. As soon as this character dies, there are chapters upon chapters of story still, but that death serves as a catalyst. When you reread the book the second time, your perception of the book completely changes based on your knowledge that this character dies. It becomes more difficult to read. A very different experience. And experiencing the death of that character in the first place is a key part of the story.
I was lucky that this wasn't spoiled for me when I read the book, but I don't know that I would have finished reading it had I known that information. It's just so unexpected, and the unexpectedness is part of what really makes. the. story.
So, Point #2: big holy shit moments should be treated with caution.
Lastly, maybe it's just me, but I think it takes about two seconds to ask "Have you seen this?" in the middle of a conversation. In fact, I can't think of a real-life conversation where someone in the group hasn't paused before spoiling something (except exactly once, and I told the person they were a jerk for it.) So why don't we apply this online? Why is it so hard to double check first?
Moreover, back to Point #1, it blows my mind that people are willing to take the extra time to type out things like "OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE CHARACTER NAME KILLED OTHER CHARACTER" instead of just "Holy shit what just happened!" or "WOW OMG SHE KILLED HER." It's literally faster to not spoil people! So, that kind of blows my mind.
Anyway, that's just how I feel about stuff, I am curious about how others feel about spoilers because it really is a super interesting topic of discussion. For some people, you can still enjoy things even knowing what's gonna happen next...me, I'm not necessarily one of those people.
Oh, and if you comment? Maybe keep your comments as spoiler free as possible. You CAN discuss things without being specific. If you think you can't, consider it a challenge. ;)