Spoilers are our stock-in-trade here at TV Tropes — you can't talk about stories and plots without revealing the details of the stories and plots, which might ruin the experience for people who haven't yet had the chance to view that work. To combat this, we have the spoiler tag markup [[spoiler:some text]].
However, this presents a problem. Virtually all examples are going to be spoilers to some extent, and we can't blank the entire wiki on the off chance that someone will be spoiled. One of the big draws of a site like this is simply browsing from one page to the next and absorbing the information therein, and that appeal is lessened if every interesting fact is lost to the fog of a spoiler tag.
So, over the last ten years we have developed a few very simple rules about using spoiler font:
- Do not ever conceal the name of the trope in a list of trope examples, the list on the work's page.
- Do not ever conceal the name of the work in a list of works using a trope, the list on the trope's page.
- No spoilers in the main body of the description, above the "Examples" line. Just don't do it.
- On Characters pages, do not ever conceal the name of a character in a folder or header. note
If you stick to those rules you get the following effect for free:
Under no circumstances cause the entire text of the example to be in white font, concealing the trope name. Think about it. If you have to highlight and read it ... just to see if you want to highlight and read it, there is no point to the spoiler font.
If this policy would cause a page to contain an unconscionable quantity of genuine spoilers, then remove all spoiler tagging and place a bold warning at the top that unmarked spoilers are present.
Okay, that's the policy part. Now we can talk about something that bugs tropers who have an interest in making things look good: Swiss-cheese entries, entries where single words and short phrases are cut out and other text is left visible. Face it, it looks like crap to people who have the spoiler font blanking effect turned on, which is the vast majority of the readers. It is the default.
Having specific rules about what to hide in the example is too complicated. It boils down to: Think about it. Think about the casual reader, who doesn't care about spoilers.
We know it seems important to fans of a given work, but the far and away majority of readers are not people with a fannish mindset at all. We who edit are mostly fannish, but the people who edit are less than 1% of the people who read the wiki. Let's continue to write for the casual reader. It is our best way to convert them to fans.
There are some special-case rules for not using spoilers in the Spoilers Off page. But, please, if you don't see your specific case listed there just use your head and favor the needs of the casual reader.