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Msg# 10158

ADMIN - Spoilers in Reviews Posted by aure\_enteluva August 06, 2009 - 18:51:00 Topic ID# 10158
Hey guys,

The first half of the awards is easily the busiest time for volunteers like me, and so I asked Larner and Dawn Felagund to make weekly educational posts on a variety of topics I wanted you to know about. Thank you, ladies! Since we're moving into the portion of the MEFAs that requires less work on my part, I will now be making these weekly educational posts. I hope you find them helpful.

Now, for this week's announcements. In a few weeks MEFA reviews will begin showing up on our website. Hopefully some of you are already reading and reviewing the stories in this year's competition. So I wanted to say a word or two about a topic that is closely tied in with reviewing, especially with reviews being posted on our website - spoilers.


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WHAT ARE SPOILERS?

The concept of spoilers comes up most often in newer fandoms, where movies, books, and TV episodes are still being produced. Think back to when the Fellowship of the Ring movie was released. If you hadn't read the books beforehand, you may have found yourself in a situation where lots of people knew plot details about the later books, that you didn't know. You may have put off reading The Two Towers and Return of the King just so the movies would surprise you, and you certainly didn't want to know how things turned out before then. But other people discussing the books and/or movies may have known this stuff, and wanted to bring details up. So fandom developed a habit of including spoiler warnings, both on fics and on discussions, that revealed some detail from the later books until some time after all the movies came out.

The MEFA concept of spoiler is similar but different. We assume everyone coming to our site knows the basic plot of Tolkien's works. So we don't ask you to warn for spoilers if (for instance) you mention that Boromir dies or that the silmarils are recovered in one of your reviews. But we *don't* assume everyone will have read the stories being reviewed before they see the reviews. Just like you once were expected to include spoiler warnings when talking about what eventually happened to Frodo, with the MEFAs you need to warn readers if your review tells how a certain story turns out.

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WHEN SHOULD YOU WARN THAT YOUR STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS?

The best policy is to use the golden rule. Imagine that you haven't read the story you're reviewing and ask yourself: if I read this review first, would it take away from my experience reading the actual story?

Keep in mind that, unlike at story archives, reviews for *all* stories are displayed together. You can tell the website to only display reviews for a certain author or story, but the "default" way of viewing the reviews means that people are more likely to see reviews for lots of different stories - quite possibly stories they haven't read yet. So it's extra important that you are courteous and warn for spoilers if your review gives away a plot point or something else you think the author wants to reveal to the reader.

If you're at all in doubt, it's probably best to include a spoiler warning.

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HOW DO YOU MARK A REVIEW AS CONTAINING SPOILERS?

For a new review: After you have typed your review (but before you preview it), tick the box at the bottom of the form beside the "SPOILERS" label. Then preview the review and save it as you would any review.

For old reviews: You can add a spoiler warning to an old review by editing the review. Tick the box next to "SPOILERS," preview the review, and save it. This will add a spoiler warning to the review.

If you can no longer edit the review, please contact mefasupport-at-mefawards-dot-net with your name at the MEFA website and the story ID #. I will gladly mark your review as containing a spoiler.

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HOW DO YOU REPORT A REVIEW THAT NEEDS A SPOILER WARNING ADDED?

If you read a review written by someone else that you think needs a spoiler warning, please let me know by emailing mefasupport-at-mefawards-dot-net. Please include the reviewer's name and the story ID # in your email. You should also explain why you think a spoiler warning is needed, if it isn't obvious.

The awards organizers will look at the review and, if they agree it contains a spoiler, a spoiler warning will be added. (That's usually me as well as some of the other volunteers who help me make policy decisions; though if the review concerns one of our stories or if we wrote the review, that person won't help make that decision.) We'll also email the reviewer to explain that the warning has been added. This will not affect the number of points the review gives to the story in any way. It will just warn people reading the review that it contains spoilers.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

* Can I include spoilers for the story in my review?
www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/index.php?page=FAQvoting#vot_16
* What do I do if a review contains spoilers, but isn't labelled as such?
www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/index.php?page=FAQvoting#vot_17
* How do I find a story to vote for?
www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/index.php?page=FAQvoting#vot_15
* How do I edit my vote?
http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/index.php?page=FAQvoting#vot_7

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Happy reviewing,

Marta (MEFA Admin.)