Wikipedia dumps spoiler warnings

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Do you use spoiler warnings when you browse Wikipedia?

Yes, and I agree with removing them
2
3%
Yes, and I disagree with removing them
31
44%
Yes, and I'm indifferent
3
4%
No, and I agree with removing them
4
6%
No, and I disagree with removing them
12
17%
No, and I'm indifferent
10
14%
I don't look up fiction on Wikipedia
8
11%
 
Total votes : 70

Wikipedia dumps spoiler warnings

Postby Kizor » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:10 pm UTC

Every single spoiler warning on the encyclopedia has been destroyed. It is now impossible for users who wish to avoid spoilers to casually browse its fiction coverage, or to search information on a series that they're not completely and thoroughly acquainted with, or to look up movies or books that they might want to check out. On the plus side it now looks much more encyclopedic and will be able to have better lead sections now that vital plot information doesn't have to be excluded from the beginning of articles.


Discuss. While we're at it, take the poll: the anti-spoiler side has made a number of statements about having the public opinion on its side, so we might just gain some useful data.
Last edited by Kizor on Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:55 pm UTC, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby Phenriz » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:14 pm UTC

yes, and i disagree with removing them
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Re: Wikipedia dumps spoiler warnings

Postby crazyjimbo » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:15 pm UTC

Kizor wrote:but a large factor was the desire to make the site look more like an encyclopedia.


The whole point of Wikipedia, is that while it is everything that an encyclopedia is, it is also so much more. Most encyclopedias don't contain the sort of content that needs spoiler tags, but Wikipedia is better, and therefore does.

How has this been decided? Isn't Wikipedia meant to be the 'people's' encyclopedia? I doubt that most people would want this change, but maybe I'm wrong. *Goes a googling*
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Postby bbctol » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:16 pm UTC

All I can say is, why?

I can't say they were uber-useful, and I will protest this to the end of my days, but I just don't see the point in removing them. They don't do any harm.

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Re: Wikipedia dumps spoiler warnings

Postby Kizor » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:22 pm UTC

crazyjimbo wrote:
Kizor wrote:but a large factor was the desire to make the site look more like an encyclopedia.


The whole point of Wikipedia, is that while it is everything that an encyclopedia is, it is also so much more. Most encyclopedias don't contain the sort of content that needs spoiler tags, but Wikipedia is better, and therefore does.


I actually edited that away in the name of professionalism, but pretty much as a courtesy: "They do not belong in an encyclopedia" was an often-used argument.
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Re: Wikipedia dumps spoiler warnings

Postby crazyjimbo » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:27 pm UTC

Kizor wrote:I actually edited that away in the name of professionalism, but pretty much as a courtesy: "They do not belong in an encyclopedia" was an often-used argument.


Fair enough, but my point still stands. As far as I am concerned, Wikipedia is *not* an encyclopedia. It's an entirely new form of information presentaion, it's a Wikipedia! :)

I browsed some of the talk pages of Wikipedia, but have failed to come across anything conclusive. I'd be interested if you could link to some of the places that discussion has gone on (assuming it was done in the public forum). Kudos to you for sticking up for the tags! :)
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Postby QuantumTroll » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:41 pm UTC

I like entries on fiction to have a plot synopsis. So spoiler-material should definitely be included in Wikipedia.

The nature of the 'tubes makes inadvertent plot spoilage easy unless something pops out and says "Hold it! You may want to avoid this section." That's what the spoiler tags did, and it worked. The tags allowed for references to spoiling information in sections other than the plot synopsis, which helps in covering the salient points like themes or symbolism in the story.

Without spoiler tags, it seems to me that the only place where a reader won't accidentally read spoilers is in the plot synopsis. This would limit the discussion in other sections... which kinda sucks.

Using "___ does not belong in an encyclopedia" is weak reasoning. Why don't spoilers belong? When I look up a book I read 5 years ago, maybe it's the plot I'm interested in. I'd like the encyclopedia to provide that information.
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Re: Wikipedia dumps spoiler warnings

Postby GhostWolfe » Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:03 pm UTC

crazyjimbo wrote:Fair enough, but my point still stands. As far as I am concerned, Wikipedia is *not* an encyclopedia. It's an entirely new form of information presentaion, it's a Wikipedia!


Encyclopedias never had the flexibility of adding "tags" to thier articles. Traditional encyclopedia's were paper based, and therefore had to grossly limit what subject matter they could include to keep costs down (and then, a ye olde encyclopedia still cost thousands of dollars). Wikipedia exists in an infinite medium, the articles can include so much more.

And frankly, everytime I read about Wikipedia's self proclaimed "professionalim" clause, I can't but thinking that a pretty high proportion of their articles don't meet the "doesn't belong in an encyclopedia" cut-off.
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Postby une see » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:09 am UTC

In the past, I saw the "Spoiler Warning," and then I debated whether or not I should scroll down to see what happens and spoil myself. I always spoiled myself. I do that during books too...I just can't help it. I'm a Spoiler Sucker.

Anyway, I don't really care about the spoiler warning being taken out since I never really used it anyway. But I feel bad for those who do.
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Postby Hawknc » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:32 am UTC

I was involved pretty hardcore in the Star Wars community for the prequels, and I stayed spoiler-free for all of them. There are a lot of us out there who like to experience a film or TV show the way it was intended to be shown to us by its creator, with all its twists and turns. I think this move shows a distinct lack of knowledge on the part of Wikipedia's creators of its user base.
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Postby RealGrouchy » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:41 am UTC

I would sort of assume that an article about $FICTION would have some sort of spoiler content in it.

By having specific <spoiler> </spoiler> tags in which all spoiler material is to be contained, it restricts the opportunity--for example--for commentary on specific plot details.

As a fictitious example, "J.K. Rowling commented to the press that she had difficulty deciding whether Harry Potter should be raped or should die, but after eating magical gooseberries from a farmer's market, she realized that death by gooseberry would be best."

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Postby Hawknc » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:43 am UTC

Ridiculous. The material is still THERE for anyone who wants to read it, it's just not immediately obvious to those who don't want to read it. Commentary isn't restricted in the slightest.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:06 am UTC

I never use them, because thats the reason why I usually go there (to get the spoilers), however I could see how others would use them, and they don't bother me.
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Postby Jack Saladin » Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:38 am UTC

... Wow. This just killed Wikipedia for me.

...

...

There's a big hole in my life. I guess I'll have to fill it with alcohol. Thanks a lot, Jimmy Wales. Ass.

Seriously, if they can now put "Saladins Quest is a movie about a guy called Saladin who goes on a quest and discovers his sidekick Belial is a raptor halfway through and then dies at the end" as the first sentence in an article, I'm never going to be able to look up a movie or book or TV show or whatever that I haven't already watched/read ever again. It totally ruins that aspect of Wikipedia.

Time for a Wikiculture to pop up then, I guess.
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Postby The LuigiManiac » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:30 am UTC

No, and indifferent. I've been hearing rumblings about this for a while now. It might not have been the BEST move, but it wasn't the worst thing they could have done. Personally, I'm still mourning the gutting of Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense. They could have at least made it a little more public that additions to BJAODN needed to be attributed to the original editor (i.e., on the actual page).

EDIT: What. The. Fudge. BJAODN has been restored? Hooray! *Begins tediously C&Ping to Word docs, in case this is only temporary*
Last edited by The LuigiManiac on Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:10 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Spoiler:
THE CAKE IS A 3.141592653589...!
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Postby GhostWolfe » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:44 am UTC

Having read this on the Wiki editing pages, I can understand why they are looking at dumping the spoiler tags.

I don't mean to sound like a total flip-flop on the issue, but I wasn't aware that there is a general "Wikipedia contains spoilers and content you may find objectionable" disclaimer that covers all pages. That pretty much makes page-specific warnings slightly redundant.

Personally, I would like a happy-medium: smaller tags, such as the single italics Warning: this section may contain spoilers under the heading, just as a head-up would work for me.
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Postby Belial » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:01 am UTC

Except that usually, half the page is spoilers and half isn't. People would like to be able to read the non-spoilery half without the spoilery half. Putting a disclaimer on the whole encyclopedia is kindof....silly. Especially when it wasn't any extra effort to have the tags in the article.
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Postby GhostWolfe » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:06 am UTC

Belial wrote:Except that usually, half the page is spoilers and half isn't. People would like to be able to read the non-spoilery half without the spoilery half. Putting a disclaimer on the whole encyclopedia is kindof....silly. Especially when it wasn't any extra effort to have the tags in the article.


Hence my preference for the mini-tags (so I don't have to look at those gaudy boxes at the top of the page).

Section Title
Warning: This section may contain spoilers.

Article content starts here...


That would make me a happy panda.


EDIT: I don't actually agree with the complete removal of spoiler warnings, I was just doing my research and I can see where Wikipedia is coming from on this issue. I really need to learn to be less ambiguous (ie: my gender issue). /end ambiguity?
Last edited by GhostWolfe on Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:13 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hawknc » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:08 am UTC

That's all that's required, really. Not a general "this encyclopedia of the entirety of human knowledge may contain some spoilers".
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Postby __Kit » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:29 am UTC

I saw this thread and thought you were talking about one of my favourite sites, The Wikipedia Dump

http://wikidumper.blogspot.com/

Cool, aye?
=]
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Postby GhostWolfe » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:37 am UTC

The Wikipedia Dump wrote:Chessckers is an exciting strategy game requiring the penultimate wit and mental dexterity.


Penultimate wit?
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Postby Azrael » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:15 pm UTC

I'm all for removing spoiler alerts. In the debate over the age old bad comic's question "So when can you start discussing how movies end, huh?" my answer tends to be "Immediately".

If you go to wikipedia and pull up the page for a movie, TV show or book ... guess what? They're going to write about the entire work. All of it. Even the [Shock! Horror! Gasp!] plot.

If you really can't handle the possibility of ruining the latest episode of your favorite TV show, but really need to figure out who that new actress was last week ... tough shit for you. Wait.

Community (and entire world) based resources cannot be expected to pander to your specific needs.
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Postby crazyjimbo » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:32 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:If you go to wikipedia and pull up the page for a movie, TV show or book ... guess what? They're going to write about the entire work. All of it. Even the [Shock! Horror! Gasp!] plot.


Of course they are, no one expects otherwise. This is no reason not to mark the potential spoiler stuff as such though.

If you really can't handle the possibility of ruining the latest episode of your favorite TV show, but really need to figure out who that new actress was last week ... tough shit for you. Wait.


But with spoilers tags, the people who want to *can* read the article without ruining the film/book/whatever. Adding spoiler tags doesn't detract *anything* from the article for people who don't care about them, but not having them completely ruins the article for people who do. In that situation, it's fairly obvious to me which side should be supported.

Community (and entire world) based resources cannot be expected to pander to your specific needs.


I've tried and tried and tried, but I can't give a response to that that doesn't feel like I'm feeding a troll. :(
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Postby the human perl script » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

DUMBLEDORE COMES BACK

People who care about spoilers and spoiler warnings enough to moan about something like this could do with a visit from the clue doctor to give them a few shots of HOLY SHIT I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT A PERSON COULD HAVE SUCH FUCKED UP PRIORITIES AND SUCH A SHELTERED EXISTENCE.
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Postby Azrael » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:53 pm UTC

(Edit: See Jimbo? That's trolling. I'm just being a Personal Responsibility dick.)

crazyjimbo wrote:
If you really can't handle the possibility of ruining the latest episode of your favorite TV show, but really need to figure out who that new actress was last week ... tough shit for you. Wait.


But with spoilers tags, the people who want to *can* read the article without ruining the film/book/whatever. Adding spoiler tags doesn't detract *anything* from the article for people who don't care about them, but not having them completely ruins the article for people who do. In that situation, it's fairly obvious to me which side should be supported.


When the entire purpose of an article is to "spoil" the ending, why go to the effort to tag & police the distinction? Let's use an example here: The 1st section is a broad introduction to the book and "should" be spoiler free regardless of tags/no tags based on basic writing conventions. But the entire rest of the article; Plot Overview, Plot Summary and even Characters are going to spoil the plot & ending no matter what. Really, the whole thing is just one big spoiler. I feel that everyone should *know* that and not need it spelled out for them.

Edit: You'd never go buy/borrow/steal a set of cliff notes and then be upset that a spoiler came out of nowhere, would you?

Community (and entire world) based resources cannot be expected to pander to your specific needs.


I've tried and tried and tried, but I can't give a response to that that doesn't feel like I'm feeding a troll. :(


Nah, sure you can. Something like "WTF? Just look at the way Google adapts itself to user searches" would've probably worked :wink:

Anyhow, my point is that you're asking someone (group) else to go to added effort to protect your own, very minor interests when you should be more than capable of doing it yourself.
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Postby crazyjimbo » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:37 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:(Edit: See Jimbo? That's trolling. I'm just being a Personal Responsibility dick.)


Yea, sorry, I wasn't calling you a troll. I meant that I couldn't come up with a reply that wasn't basically 'SHUT THE FUCK UP'. My bad.

When the entire purpose of an article is to "spoil" the ending, why go to the effort to tag & police the distinction? Let's use an example here: The 1st section is a broad introduction to the book and "should" be spoiler free regardless of tags/no tags based on basic writing conventions. But the entire rest of the article; Plot Overview, Plot Summary and even Characters are going to spoil the plot & ending no matter what. Really, the whole thing is just one big spoiler. I feel that everyone should *know* that and not need it spelled out for them.

Edit: You'd never go buy/borrow/steal a set of cliff notes and then be upset that a spoiler came out of nowhere, would you?


You have pulled up an example which I would agree, probably doesn't need spoiler tags. However, one example can't be used to make broad statements about the rest of the content on wikipedia. I could equally well use this example (Heroes), which contains trivia about the show as well as character and plot summaries. I for one have visited this page out of interest, not having seen all the episodes, and was thankful for the spoiler tags. Could I have avoided cruicial spoilers without them? Probably, but they make life a hell of a lot easier.

There are plenty of other articles out there that mix non-spoiler with heavy spoiler content, and if you can only distinguish spoiler content by reading it, then it's a bit late.

Considering spoilers do no harm to people who don't care, can you really begrudge a few cm of screen space for the people who do want them?

Anyhow, my point is that you're asking someone (group) else to go to added effort to protect your own, very minor interests when you should be more than capable of doing it yourself.


The effort is very small considering they are writing entire articles, and I wouldn't consider not wanting a film/book spoiled to be a minor interest. I would wager that it is a fairly large issue for many users.
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Postby Azrael » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:13 pm UTC

You know what, something must be wrong with my Spoiler Sensitivity. 'Cause I don't see any spoilers in the Heroes entry until you're past Characters and Plot and into Reoccurring Elements.

Now sure, if all I wanted was the Production Notes, I'd have to pass over a bunch of stuff that is going to be a spoiler no matter what but is nicely sectioned off under headings that are plenty indicative enough of the spoiler-ish content that follows. Couple that with a higher Spoiler Sensitivity and a lower Text Skimming Quotient, and I'd be in trouble for sure.

I don't begrudge you the space or aesthetics or any such stuff of the spoiler alert. But an informational source should provide all the information available. And in doing so, should not have to actively warn you that you might not really want the information the you've sought out.

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Postby justbecause » Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:02 pm UTC

At first, I was all, like, "Yes! Don't you dare take them away!"
Then I realized that I was thinking of imdb.
Why would I look up a fictional work on Wiki if I didn't want to, you know, read about the fictional work? If I'm just looking for jacket copy, I look on amazon, borders, or imdb. If I'm looking at Wiki, then I expect plot exposure.
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Postby Belial » Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:08 pm UTC

Community (and entire world) based resources cannot be expected to pander to your specific needs.


But they already *did* pander to my needs. The tags were already in place. People were already willing to place them. No extra work was necessary on the part of....whoever makes rules about this shit.

It's not like people are going to a place with no spoiler tags, and saying "we demand you institute spoiler tags". They were already there, and used profusely, and someone went to the *effort* of purging all of them.

That's kindof a dick move.
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Postby GhostWolfe » Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:13 pm UTC

justbecause wrote:If I'm looking at Wiki, then I expect plot exposure.


That's not really to point that we're contesting. It's a sorry state of the world that showing a little bit of curtesy and kindness is like a contravention of our basic human rights these days :(

/controversial statement
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Postby Azrael » Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:26 pm UTC

SilverWolfe wrote:That's not really to point that we're contesting. It's a sorry state of the world that showing a little bit of curtesy and kindness is like a contravention of our basic human rights these days :(


Aww, now you've gone and made me feel all guilty.
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Postby GhostWolfe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:16 am UTC

aw *hugs* don't mind me, I'm just bitter!
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Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:11 am UTC

There is absolutely no reason those tags should have been removed.

Belial wrote:The tags were already in place. People were already willing to place them. No extra work was necessary on the part of....whoever makes rules about this shit.

It's not like people are going to a place with no spoiler tags, and saying "we demand you institute spoiler tags". They were already there, and used profusely, and someone went to the *effort* of purging all of them.

That's kindof a dick move.



Belial already expressed my view better than I could have (when you read this, Belial, feel free to get out of my head) but I figured I'd make it clear where the candy stands.
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Postby RealGrouchy » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:56 am UTC

Belial wrote:
Community (and entire world) based resources cannot be expected to pander to your specific needs.


But they already *did* pander to my needs. The tags were already in place. People were already willing to place them. No extra work was necessary on the part of....whoever makes rules about this shit.

Same could be said for "trivia" sections, which are also being phased out.

There's lots of content you *could* add to wikipedia articles, but that doesn't make that content encyclopedic. It is a slippery slope at the end of which is those user pages where they have umpteen million userboxes.

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Postby DJH47 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:02 am UTC

I usually ignored the spoiler warnings. Really, Wikipedia often focuses more on retelling the story when it should be talking about the work's social relevance. I am well aware of what this would mean for most of the articles on anime. :)
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Postby Azrael » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:39 pm UTC

RealGrouchy wrote:
Belial wrote:
Community (and entire world) based resources cannot be expected to pander to your specific needs.


But they already *did* pander to my needs. The tags were already in place. People were already willing to place them. No extra work was necessary on the part of....whoever makes rules about this shit.

Same could be said for "trivia" sections, which are also being phased out.

There's lots of content you *could* add to wikipedia articles, but that doesn't make that content encyclopedic. It is a slippery slope at the end of which is those user pages where they have umpteen million userboxes.

- RG>


I don't think it's a stretch to state that wikipedia has been heading down a clear cut path towards a more encyclopedic presence -- notability, etc. This is one more step in that direction. Superficially, in the "encyclopedias do not have spoiler tags" kind of way, but also in the objective stance towards a work, where is it simply accepted that an informative article on a work will discuss what goes on.

So maybe wikipedia is trying to be more -pedia and less what wiki- has become. I can't honestly blame them. If they hope to remain relevant, they can't become so user influenced that all objectivity is lost, as in RG's user pages example.

Edit by RG: Clarified last sentence.

Hmm, good call there Boss.
Last edited by Azrael on Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:59 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby McLurker » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:20 pm UTC

I saw spoliers as being redundant- obviously an article on a fictional work is going to include plot details. But, I can't help thinking a small group of people removing content from 45,000 articles without consultation have to be a group of power-crazed assholes, right? Wikipedia used to have a saying "follow consensus, not policy".

So, I don't like the warnings, but am in two minds about their removal.

The only Wikipedia policies I get bothered about are the BLP (Biography of Living People) ones. Now, there's a part of Wikipedia with an ethos and culture completely at odds with the spirit found in the rest of Wikipedia.
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Postby |333173|3|_||3 » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:50 pm UTC

I generally agree with Belial that hte removal of all the spoiler tags was a bad idea, although the spoiler templates were rather excessively large and intrusive, and would have been greatly improved by reducing them to a single line of body-size text.
If you read the spoiler policy, it states that tags are not supposed ot be put on Plot Summary, Character, or Symbolism sections, where one would reasonably expect to find a spoiler, but rather to mark places where there are spoilers but where this is not obvious from the section title. They are also supposed to be used in articles not specifically about a work to notify that a paragraph relates the subject of the article to a work in a way which involves the use of spoilers (although this does not seem to be commonly used).

The trivia sections are a problem simply because they tend to end up as huge lists of fancruft, and usually has a lot of information duplicated across several pages. "List of *" pages were often bad for this as well, and a lot of those got cleaned up and turned into real articles.
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