Spoiler Code of Conduct

Spoiler Code of ConductWith the prevalance of DVRs, binge viewing, time-shifting and other digital methods of acquiring television shows, we're in desparate need of a spoiler code of conduct.

Last night, the series finale of Breaking Bad aired on AMC. It's one of the few series I watch, so I most definitely tuned in. I have not, nor will I, blog, tweet, facebook or podcast a spoiler. In fact, earlier yesterday, I made a pledge not to do so.

In my opinion, publicly airing spoilers is downright rude. Would you have broadcast the twist ending of Sixth Sense upon leaving the theatre? Of course not, because that would have been a dick move. Spoiling an episode by live tweeting quotes or plot turns is a dick move.

I live by a spoiler code of conduct. I will always wait a minimum of six-months before spoiling a tv show or movie, and usually I'll wait much, much longer. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.... it's nothing more complex than that.

Do you have a spoiler code of conduct? Do you think it's fair to live-tweet or facebook major plot points points of popular shows like Breaking Bad?

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Comments (42 - click here to join in!)

Lou Skunt

I do respect the need to not use social media to share spoilers. I do enjoy, however, creating fake spoilers just to mess with people. Its a way to have some good clean fun... No one gets hurt, right?

September 30, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

Ryan G

It's just common courtesy not to spoil stuff, and oftentimes, the person doing it tells you a lot about that person.

About a day before I saw 6th sense some jackass at work trumpeted the twist loudly around the office. He was a bit of a douchebag.

This morning I was flipping around the radio and The Edge had some caller spoil the entire BB finale. I don't know if Blundell warned people that this was going to happen, but even if he did, that's one way of ensuring potentially thousands of listeners turn the dial, which is ..sort of the opposite of what you want to do in radio no? (particularly since they now have some very stiff competitition from Indie 88).

In any event, to my original point, doesn't this suggest Blundell is indeed douche-baggy for doing this on air?

September 30, 2013 @ 10:31 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Lou Skunt

Sharing fake spoilers in the public domain is also a dick move.

September 30, 2013 @ 10:35 AM


It definitely is out of control. Honestly I did not come to your site today until I finished watching the BB finale.

I turned on Breakfast Television this morning and they were talking about it so I switched to the Global morning show and they too were talking about it. Flipped on Derringer and him and Moreen were talking about it.

September 30, 2013 @ 10:35 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ryan G

I completely agree that you learn a lot about someone when they spoil stuff. It's a rather pompous and selfish act.

September 30, 2013 @ 10:35 AM

Jono formerly from Toronto

I agree entirely with this - but I'm not sure where it ends.

Last year I texted a friend who is a Caps fan about a game during the second period - and he responded that he was Tivoing it for viewing later that night.

What is the code of conduct on this one? Since that day I always do an intro text to someone asking if they're watching the game - but that's a lot more cumbersome. Do I need to worry about spoiling live sports events?

September 30, 2013 @ 10:42 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Jono formerly from Toronto

Sports is a live happening a'la news, weather and traffic. You don't need to worry about spoiling live sports events... it's completely different.

September 30, 2013 @ 10:46 AM

Sam in Pickering

Mike, I agree 100%.

Those who spoil TV shows and movies are complete asshats.

September 30, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

Lyle Lanley

I agree, but six months might be a little long. I'd put the statute of limitations on show spoilers in social media at 6 weeks.

September 30, 2013 @ 10:55 AM

Ben Vidal

@ Toronto Mike: It does say a lot about a persons character when they take delight in ruining something for someone i.e., spoilers. Especially in the first 24 - 48 hours

However if someone doesn't watch a finale or a movie for over a week, I don't believe people shouldn't be able to talk about it.

When Dark Knight Rises came out, one guy friend out of our core group of 7 decided he would wait to see it with his long distance GF in Australia a month after it's release. No one was allowed to talk about the movie at all in that time.

I adhered to that BS for 2 weeks and then said eff that, let it all out while were at the pub drinking. the other 5 guys had wanted to discuss it long before that. You could see their relief in being able to talk.

Needless to say the one guy who was waiting to see it was pissed and stormed out of the pub.

Speaking of finales. Did anyone catch the horrendous piece of shite that was Dexter series finale? 8 seasons of watching for that piece of grabage ending. Bah

September 30, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ben Vidal

I bailed on Dexter after season 4. I found it so predictable and dumbed down.

What happened was I saw The Wire between season 4 and 5 and it completely ruined shows like Dexter for me...

September 30, 2013 @ 11:03 AM

Mississauga Phil

Yeah...but Breaking Bad was brilliant...Walt goes into Witness protection and that's how Malcolm in the Middle starts...

@ Lou - Now THAT is how you do a fake spoiler

September 30, 2013 @ 11:06 AM


I think TV and Movies have a different rule.

I think it's fair to discuss the TV show after it airs. It's like a live event. I think it's fair to wait a few hours for time shifting but the next day is fair game.

Movies are different. They are designed to be viewed at variable times. It can take weeks to see a movie so it shouldn't be spoiled. The Sixth Sense was spoiled for me by a stupid person..."Oh..you haven't seen it yet?" It was out for a week or so.

But TV? It's like a sports game.

Intentionally spoiling it for others is a crappy thing to do.

@ Phil.....that's an old joke now. You could at least say he went into Witness Protection and became a re-gifting dentist.

September 30, 2013 @ 11:34 AM


Sixth Sense has a twist ending? Damn, I was going to watch it tonight.

No cable, no TV, i watch bb on iTunes and they dont release episodes until as much as 24 hrs after airing. I watched the finale at 6am today so I wouldn't hear aa spoiler.

September 30, 2013 @ 12:32 PM


I have a friend who spoils. It's brutal.

September 30, 2013 @ 1:36 PM


One of these days, I'm going to get around to watching BB. After all as Peter Griffin once said "I used to think the Wire was the greatest show ever, I now think Breaking Bad is."

I figure it will take me a few years to finish watching all episodes so until then, I hope no one ruins it for me.

September 30, 2013 @ 1:37 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I'd unfriend / unfollow that spoiler.

September 30, 2013 @ 1:39 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


As a guy who has seen every episode of The Wire and Breaking Bad I can honestly say they're not in the same class.

September 30, 2013 @ 1:42 PM


@Ben Vidal -
"Needless to say the one guy who was waiting to see it was pissed and stormed out of the pub."

Seriously? Stormed out? Not only is that taking things way too seriously, it puts his dignity as a man in question.

September 30, 2013 @ 2:10 PM

Ben Vidal

@ Corey: No word of a lie. It was at a pub in Oakville called the Niblick. All of us guys still bug him about that night. The term wipe the sand out of your (insert word that rhymes with Regina) gets tossed his way quite a bit.

September 30, 2013 @ 2:56 PM


Disagree with your original post Mike. So, the 10 million people who watched the finale should wait 6 months before discussing it?

No. Not only was Breaking Bad brilliant, its status as a cultural phenomenon elevates the series finale to an occasion in itself. This changes the game entirely, for example would you hold back on celebrating a major sports win because a sizeable proportion of people wouldn't get to watch it until the following day? Of course not, its absurd.

Someone called out Dean Norris (Hank) for 'spoiling' the episode with his last appearance, even though it was a week later. Norris responded that he shouldn't have to censor himself for the sake of some lazy ass that was way behind.

If you wan the luxury of waiting 6 months to watch the finale of the most popular TV series yet, then stay away from forums where its discussed. Everyone knows Twitter reflects real time events. If you want to wait 6 months then avoiding the online Breaking Bad community is the cost of this decision and that is yours to bear.

That being said, spoilers for the sake of spoilers is a dick move. And this is your site and you can make any policy you want here and it should be followed by anyone posing.

September 30, 2013 @ 4:06 PM



September 30, 2013 @ 4:07 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I disagree.

It's one thing to avoid the community... staying away from Breaking Bad forums and blogs and /r/breakingbad is a no-brainer, but one shouldn't have to avoid news feeds and tweets and Facebook just to avoid a spoiler.

Six months is my rule, but I understand most won't wait that long. Still, a week should be the minimum, and if you're a good citizen, you should go much longer.

My 2 cents!

September 30, 2013 @ 4:34 PM


THere is a direct correlation between the length of time you'll wait before spoiling and the decency of your being.

The person who waits no time to publicly spoil is a self-centered asshole. The person who waits 24 hours is a better person. The person who waits forever is a truly gold soul.

September 30, 2013 @ 5:04 PM


In about two months' time, I hope to catch the series finale of The Fugitive. That final 2-part episode was massively popular - from before I was born. As far as I know of, the show had been abandoned from any replay syndication availability here in Canada. If you buy a DVD box set version, there will be replacement soundtrack music inserted.
In real life, there was a late 1960s fugitive cop shooter from Chicago, living here in Toronto and working at the main reference library for... 35 years.
link: http://this.org/magazine/2010/08/25/gary-freeman-joseph-pannell-black-panther-party/

September 30, 2013 @ 5:07 PM


Just another good reason to utterly ignore Twitter I guess. It's amazing, I think I may have an account, but definitely have never tweeted, and follow absolutely no one. Interestingly, I feel like I'm still a reasonably informed person with a full life. Imagine...

September 30, 2013 @ 5:31 PM


No tweeting? Sorry Mike, BB community is firmly established on Twitter! The cost has to be borne by to the person holding out to watch later.

Otherwise its like the episode of The Simpsons where Otto is at the Aerosmith concert and is shouting 'sit down, you're ruining it for everybody'!

That being said, spoilers for their own sake; still a dick move.

September 30, 2013 @ 6:09 PM


Huell? Are you still waiting in the safehouse??

I was waiting for an Airplane style joke at the end of the credits where Huell looks at his watch and says 'i'll give him another 10 minutes'.

September 30, 2013 @ 6:10 PM


People who reveal plot endings, twists and season or series finales suck ass! I work many a night shift as a nurse and I have to rely on my PVR. I am aware of social forums like Twitter that posts liberally things that are trending in real to recent time in pop culture and recent events and I mindfully stay aware of those sites or proceed with caution. However I have also been in social settings where some people present with poor impulse control and almost act like they get off on revealing the endings to demonstrate that they are in the know

September 30, 2013 @ 7:55 PM


Did not see Breaking Bad nor do I plan too...so spoil away

That being said if someone did spoil the ending of the Sixth Sense I would have been incensed and not have seen the movie.

However, is the comparison between the Sixth Sense and Breaking Bad appropriate? M. Night Shamalayan made a career of the shock or twist ending. Was the ending of Breaking Bad a shock or twist?

The Sixth Sense was two hours long so one could accept the conclusion and laugh at themselves for missing the clues throughout. Breaking Bad, however, ran for several seasons. I would think a twist or shock ending after so much time invested would be a letdown or a cheat. I mean if you followed it for so long wouldn’t or shouldn’t the ending pretty much be what was expected after all the episodes & character development.

Therefore is it really “spoiled” if someone leaked the ending? And at the end of the day...its just TV show / Movie anyway

October 1, 2013 @ 9:25 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I will delete all Breaking Bad spoilers in this Open Mike. It's too soon...

October 1, 2013 @ 9:29 AM


Censorship! :P

Were people just discussing it, or deliberately trying to be jerks?

October 1, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I can't imagine a Toronto Mike contributor being a jerk... except maybe on that Todd Shapiro entry...

October 1, 2013 @ 10:02 AM


Ah, I thought it could have just been anonymous comments.

October 1, 2013 @ 10:15 AM


Holy crap, went back to look at that Shapiro entry.


October 1, 2013 @ 10:19 AM



I didn't see the Sixth Sense bit as being a direct comparison to BB, more of a clear example of something you wouldn't want to spoil. In that movie's case it was a plot twist that most people figured out quickly, but if you were told it before you even saw the movie, would you still want to see it?

BB isn't so much about a big plot twist as how did the writers end the series. As it was such a great show, people wanted an appropriate ending and they wanted to see it happen, vs being told how it would end.

@Mike, I started watching The Wire as you and your bro(s) have claimed it is "THE BEST SHOW EVER MADE ON TV. EVER", I started watching it last week when I was home sick. 3 Episodes in and I can proclaim that it is not even in the top 1000 TV shows ever made. Ever. Does it get better, or should I just stop now?

Back to spoilers, I think in the age of PVRs and Twitter, courtesy is the key. Not every one CAN stay on top of the show, but Twitter, etc, is designed for the here and now. I say 1 week is polite to blurt something out. If you are blogging, don't tweet the spoil, feel free to write about it and tweet that it is a spoiler.

With live sports although I do sometimes record a game and tell people that I know not to tell me the score, I can't blame anyone for ruining it. If it's BIG game, then all bets are off, you can't subdue celebration, or the agony of defeat, in the case of the Leafs. #Go!LeafsGo!


October 1, 2013 @ 3:43 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


It's not just my bros and me, it's lots of people, including Entertainment Weekly: http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/07/01/the-wire-lawrence-gilliard-chad-coleman/

I'm not sure why you're not digging it. Maybe it's not for you? I was hooked by episode 3... and I've yet to find a show in the same class.

October 1, 2013 @ 3:54 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


And Pete, when I get back from Europe, you have to come on the podcast!

October 1, 2013 @ 3:55 PM



I was talking about The Wire with a friend and he hadn't watched it, surprisingly, he's a real TV junkie. I was describing it as Hill Street Blues without the character development, good dialogue or compelling story line. Plus the acting is so bad. I didn't even know what decade it was made in it is so nondescript.

I'm up for the Podcast, have fun in the old country.


October 1, 2013 @ 4:01 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


It would be impossible for me to disagree with you more!

The characters on The Wire are amazing. Are you sure you're focusing? It's not a show you can multi-task during...

October 1, 2013 @ 4:04 PM


I normally agree with Mike 95% of the time, but this time I am on the opposite side. Obviously you don't want to spoil anything for any body on purpose but.....

Sports i consider news, it's a live event, In big games your mood changes from happy to sad depending on the results, you can't force somebody not to feel that emotion soon after the game. Movies are a different story, I would say protocol is to wait until it on DVD before talking about spoilers freely.

TV shows are a different animal, I respect time zones, and people watching it on taped delay, but in my mind is if you are into the show enough to care about it's finale but didn't bother watching it live or on DVR overnight or during breakfast, that's on you. I give you half a day, but the next morning if you didn't watch when you should have had enough hours to watch it by then. The only people i feel bad for in this situation is people in other countries who might get the show days late on their TV cable.

October 1, 2013 @ 4:33 PM



No multi-tasking, I wasn't feeling well, so I was at home full attention. I'll give it a complete season, then we'll see.


October 1, 2013 @ 4:42 PM

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