We have a general policy on Handling Spoilers. But sometimes, there's no point. Some works have become so common, or were made so long ago, that there are probably only one or two humans left worldwide who haven't seen or read it and still care about not seeing spoilers. We feel for them, but we can't help them; catering to them would leave the wiki half-covered in spoiler tags.
To that end, here's an incomplete list of pages where you won't see spoilers at all — either the page is designed for people who've already consumed the whole work, any spoilers are Late Arrival Spoilers and shouldn't be on that page to begin with, or the work is so seminal that everyone already knows all the spoilers.
Spoilers off for:
- Particularly old works. This basically encompasses works whose copyright has expired or which predate the very concept of copyright. In the vast majority of countries, this roughly coincides with anything Older Than Radio (e.g. anything by William Shakespeare). It certainly includes things Older Than Feudalism, including mythology (e.g. Oedipus), legend (e.g. Robin Hood), or religion. There's no point in spoiling The Bible; sometimes it's funny to put Jesus dies (but then he comes back to life) in spoiler tags, but don't go overdoing it.
- Well-known historical fact. If it happened in Real Life, there's no point in putting up spoilers on it. It would be pretty ridiculous to claim that the ship sinking in Titanic is a spoiler when it's based on an event that has its own Useful Notes page. Obviously, this does not apply to things that aren't quite historical fact, such as heavy dramatisations, alternate histories, or interaction of fictional characters in historical events (especially where they're explicitly changing things from what we know as fact, such as Been There, Shaped History or Beethoven Was an Alien Spy). And it's important that it be well-known; if the plot twist is a very obscure historical event, it's probably better to make it a spoiler — most of the audience won't know it and will still be surprised (and for the rest it's a Genius Bonus). Again, sometimes you can tag obvious historical fact as a spoiler if it would be funny, but again, don't go overdoing it.
- Recap pages. These are designed to give detailed information about a work. Someone who wants both all of the details and not to see spoilers is not someone we can help. Details about future episodes should not be on an episode's recap page to begin with; those go in the page for the episode in which they appear. Foreshadowing should be handled delicately; again, mention only the details in the episode in question and not what specifically is being foreshadowed.
- Fridge pages, Headscratchers, and the various "Moments" subpages (e.g. Funny Moments, Heartwarming Moments, Moment of Awesome, Nightmare Fuel, Tear Jerker). These are for post-viewing discussions of the work in question; everyone who reads them is assumed to have already seen all there is to see. However, there are a few compromises:
- It's considered good practice to put a notice at the top of the page warning Tropers who stumble upon it of unmarked spoilers.
- As a courtesy, please do not spoil later installments or episodes in a subpage for an earlier installment or episode, so as to minimize the Late-Arrival Spoiler effect. With Headscratchers, it can be tricky sometimes, as something that happens in that work may only be called into question by something that happens in a later work; future works may be referenced but not described.
- Certain Audience Reactions that re-examine events in a later installment. When dealing with things like Fridge Brilliance, Hilarious in Hindsight, or a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, it may be tempting to put a spoiler for a later installment when describing something that is seen in a new light because of events in that later installment. Don't put those details in the earlier page at all; only reference them in the page for the later work (and in its YMMV page only). If a plot element is re-examined because of Real Life events, then said tropes go in the YMMV page for the earlier work, and without spoiler tags.
- Complete Monster and Magnificent Bastard pages. These are complicated tropes, and they require one to have seen basically the entire work so as to have as much context as possible for said characters actions. As with the post-viewing discussion pages, it can be safely assumed that anyone reads these pages has seen the entire work. However, Complete Monster and Magnificent Bastard entries on general YMMV pages may be tagged.
- Entries in Character Sheets with Walking or Late Arrival Spoilers. Sometimes, some seemingly minor characters are so significant that discussing or even mentioning them would spoil a major plot point of a work, if not the entire work. In character pages for these works, these characters' entire entries could be spoiler-tagged to the point of the entry being unreadable to the average reader, making the effort pointless. Later works can also inadvertently spoil significant points about these characters if the reader hadn't read any prior works featuring them. Thus, it's recommended that character entries whose subjects fall under Walking and/or Late-Arrival spoiler have their spoilers un-tagged from the works' character pages; they can still be tagged on main, trivia and YMMV pages as well as other character entries mentioning the characters in question.
- However, a notice cautioning the reader about the spoiler-heavy character should be added at the top of these pages as a form of courtesy. If possible, give the character an alternate name for the entry folder while leaving their real name in the entry. If the character is part of a larger set of characters in a single folder (e.g. Roz from Monsters, Inc. being part of the "Monsters Inc. Staff" folder), please add a spoiler notice before the sub-entry.
Incidentally, if you're utterly disgusted with big blocks of whited-out text (or blacked out if you have Night Vision) turning everything into Swiss cheese, there's an easy solution: turn off spoilers, and see everything without having to click on it. It's as easy as hitting the "Show Spoilers" switch near the top of the page, and you can also go into your profile as well.
If that's still not enough, you can help us clean it up! If the spoiler text really has nothing to do with the trope, go ahead and delete it. Or, if the entire page should be spoiler-free, you can use the "strip spoilers tool" to remove the spoiler tags from the entire page — but if you do this, remember to do two things: first, add a general unmarked spoiler warning at the top of the page; and second, check the page for stray brackets, as sometimes potholes within spoiler tags can get a little messed up.