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My question may seem a little simple, but most events regarding anime and manga are chronological.

Would asking a question about the first couple arcs of an anime or manga without the use of the spoiler box be spoiling? Can we assume that people already watched the arcs due to how long ago the content was released?

For example, would it be spoiling if I asked the following question not in a spoiler box:

In Sanji's arc of One Piece, Why did Nami steal Going Merry?

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I argue that anything later than the scope of the question is considered a spoiler.

For instance, if the question is about the Chuunin Exams arc in Naruto, an answer from an earlier arc (such as the Zabuza arc) shouldn't be marked as spoilers.

If the answer is from a later arc (Rescuing Sasuke, for example), those details should be marked as spoilers.


Aside from that, make sure your title isn't spoilerish, and if it is, generalize it to make it good for reading:

How did Character X break out of Edo Tensei?

Is problematic if Character X broke out of Edo Tensei very recently in the manga, which may spoil it for anime viewers.

How can Edo Tensei be broken?

Is better. It only implies that Edo Tensei can be broken, which isn't very spoilerific. Inside of the questions, also in spoiler tags, should be the detailed question, with some introduction message:

Warning! The following contains spoiler for Naruto anime viewers!

Spoiler content here

That's my perspective on how we should be treating spoilers.

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  • +1 I think your example used is a perfect example of how you can still maintain a good title without needing to use spoilers. – Wipqozn Dec 16 '12 at 17:01
  • Asking how did Character X break out the Edo Tensei, is a spoiler it self. – Blue Dec 19 '12 at 2:33
  • That's the point. So don't write titles like those, but instead use the second example I've given. – Madara's Ghost Dec 19 '12 at 8:50
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This is a tricky question. First let's see what definitely are spoilers.

  • If the question is based on anime, using the information from manga chapters that were not yet made into anime episodes is totally a spoiler. I believe that along with including it in a spoiler box, it's a good idea to explicitly state that it comes from manga that has not yet been screened.

  • If the question is about the events in a particular episode/chapter, data colected from much later chapters is a spoiler. For example, if the question is "Why did X happen in episode Y?", and the answer is "Because in episode X+100 it's explained, that...". The part after "that" should be put into the spoiler box.

Now, to more controversial examples.

  • Information about key events, especially about character deaths, should almost always be put into the spoiler box. The exception is if the question is about a specific chapter/episode, and the events happen before that episode. In that case people who haven't watched/read up to this episode/chapter will not open the question in the first place.

  • I believe that any cross-over information should also be put into the box. For example, if the question is "Why X", and the answer is "Well, do you remember how in anime YY, character ZZ died in episode 75? It's pretty much the same here". Such information should be put into the box. It's frustraiting to come into a question about something you have watched long ago, and be spoiled on the events of another title that you are watching now.

And finally, every other piece of information that you think might be a spoiler for other people that come by your question/answer, should be put into the box. Don't be too worried: if you put an unnecessary box, or forget to put something important into it, other users will most likely edit your question/answer, or leave a comment for you. Remember, it's absolutely nothing bad including information that is hardly (or not at all) a spoiler into the spoiler box; it doesn't hurt anyone.

So, basically, using common sense is enough to determine whether you should use the box or not.

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  • Lets put your answer in the FAQ and use it to answer (or refer to when we close the question as duplicate) all 'is this a spoiler' questions! – Veger Dec 16 '12 at 9:52
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    @Veger It's better to make the FAQ as concise and possible. But nothing denies us from linking Meta questions from the FAQ. :) – Alenanno Dec 16 '12 at 10:41
  • @ALenanno, absolutely. I'd even say it's a good practice to do so;) – SingerOfTheFall Dec 16 '12 at 11:03
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I'm not sure how the community stands on this, but personally I would rephrase your original question of

In Sanji's arc of One Piece, Why did Nami steal Going Merry?

to

In chapter 68 of One Piece, Why did Nami steal Going Merry?

From a spoiler point of view

Calling the Baratie Arc "Sanji's Arc" would spoil that there will be such an important person called Sanji and therefore will probably be the new crew member. For a specific event like this, personally I would refer to the chapter number for comics or episode number for cartoons. This way people who didn't read or watch as far, would now know they don't want to click on this particular question. Numbers are a clearer reference to the relative point in time the event takes place in the story.

From a question point of view

Referring to a number might make the question unnatural, since we usually don't remember the events in every chapter. The contents of the question will obviously be explained in the body of the question with proper spoiler tags, but that might not be the community's convention.

Conclusion

Personally I would add chapter numbers for specific events, but I'm not sure how the community thinks about this.

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  • Concrete references to chapter numbers are excellent and always helpful in the body of a question or answer. For the reasons you cite, though, I'm not sure they're all that helpful in question titles - they don't help the reader situate the events very effectively because, as you say, people don't remember events by chapter. For shorter series (e.g. 12-episode anime), I often refer to episode numbers explicitly, but for longer stuff (e.g. One Piece), I think it is better to use arc names or something else that helps people put the events in context. – senshin Jun 10 '14 at 21:14
  • That said, is this a case where the reference to an arc is necessary? I don't know anything about One Piece, but unless Nami steals Going Merry multiple teams, the title could just as well be "Why did Nami steal Going Merry?". – senshin Jun 10 '14 at 21:15
  • Nami only once stole the Going Merry, but lets say she did so twice. What if the reader is only halfway through the story, past the first time she stole the boat. Without any time reference, the reader would think he knows the answer to the question, but might still end up being spoiled. Not sure if this situation occurs often though. – Peter Raeves Jun 10 '14 at 21:26
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    Hm, you're right, that's a good argument in favor of including arc/chapter references most of the time for long series. – senshin Jun 10 '14 at 21:28

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