There's no doubt that io9 needed a spoiler policy. So, we surveyed over 1000 readers about their opinions. Then people debated it in comments, and meanwhile offline I was arguing with Charlie about it. Although Charlie writes the "morning spoiler" roundup, she is very strict in her no-spoiler-without-warning policy. I am a bit more lax. In last week's vote about io9's spoiler policy, I was one of the pathetic 4.3 percent who voted for spoilers anywhere on the page, without warning. Now I recognize that I am a freakish outcast among nerds, and that io9's spoiler policy needs to be a bit less radical than my own point of view. Without further ado, here is io9's current spoiler policy - by popular demand.
We will not post any spoilers on the main page, and when we do post spoilers they will be announced with the words "spoilers ahead." How do we define "spoiler"? Anything that gives away the outcome of a major plot point in a story. For this reason, io9 would not consider discussions of the strange whisper at the end of Cloverfield to be a spoiler - these discussions certainly gave away that the movie has an extra bit after the credits, but knowing that would not give away major plot outcomes in the flick.
Spoilers are like sex. Most people prefer to have them behind a curtain; a few like them right out in the street where everyone can see. I will admit to being of the latter variety in my spoilerish preferences. I like to know the endings of movies before I see them, because I think middles are much more important than endings, and harder to do well.
I often read the ending of a book when I'm still halfway through. Yes, I want to know the cool thief dies before she actually dies, so I can pay attention to the stuff leading up to her death, OK? Spoilers help me plan the way I want to pay attention to a story.
Everybody likes spoilers a little bit. But you want to be able to choose when you see those spoilers, and how. So io9 will give you the spoilers you want, but we'll shield you by keeping them off the front page and telling you "spoilers ahead" when necessary. If you don't have the willpower to stop reading when you see those words, io9 is not responsible. But we might have a spoiler-blocking brain implant to sell you.
Technical stuff for RSS nerds:
Some people have expressed concern that they can't block out spoilers because they read io9 in a feed where there is no break in the post after the "more" link. There is an easy solution to this. You can subscribe to the io9 feed without the "morning spoiler" posts by grabbing the RSS off this page. Find out more about building a custom RSS feed for io9 here.