2015. After waiting in line for about half an hour, we started slowly ushering into the auditorium where we would watch Star Wars The Force Awakens. One by one the usher tore our tickets allowing each person in. Eventually, I make my way to the front of the line, and as I'm handing my ticket over someone rushes into the front lobby, yells a major spoiler for the film, and then rushes out. The usher hands me my ticket back and I walk into the auditorium angry but with nothing really to do.
Dramatic? Yeah, but I gotta write something to lure people into wanting to read right? That's a true story though, and one that coincided with a declaration that I wouldn't let spoilers control me that much. Leading up to that event I had gotten to the point where I would wear headphones into the theater, so as not to be spoiled by the people walking out. I would take extended breaks from the Internet so that I wouldn't accidentally come across an angry commenter out to ruin other people's fun. I did everything in my power to minimize the spoilers, and it was becoming exhausting. I got to the point where I decided that I was going to stop. All these steps I was taking was just building up a pressure valve of disappointment that spoiler folks were seeking to burst. Reactions. That's all they want out of you, reactions. What better way to combat their meaningless antics than with the flippancy of teenage apathy.
The Star Wars spoiler was enough to rile me up but I held onto the attitude that I shouldn't give these people the satisfaction they wanted. That mentality helped me forge the same resolve for streaming. I've come to the realization that as the streamer I'm going to get spoiled for stuff. It's going to happen. Whether it be a digital equivalent of Star Wars lobby boy running in with a drive-by shout, or a well-meaning person looking to discuss whatever big event is happening. It's gonna happen. Yet, the paranoia found new life in wanting to shield my community from these people. Or at least that's the trojan horse it used to enter my mindspace again. If you haven't guessed by now, this is leading towards Infinity War.
I texted a cousin of mine about a week before the early movie premiere that he should consider staying away from the stream until he saw the movie. I explained to him that random spoilers had been a pretty annual thing with whatever huge release was coming and I knew how much Infinity War meant to him. I even made posts about it in our discord, reminding people to take extra caution and be wary about the places they visited online. As the movie's release got closer though my mind kept fixating on ways to help prevent issues, so I got to work. Any hint of spoilers I would immediately private message the person to clarify what they meant, (Sorry Kelamin). I went into my banned words list on Twitch and added every MCU Superhero I could think of to discourage random spoils. I turned on follower only mode so that you had to be following for at least a certain amount of time before you could even chat. I removed all follow alerts so that cleverly named usernames wouldn't pop up on stream. I created a brand new discord server specifically for Avengers talk so that I could redirect conversation there. Finally, I didn't stream to any game directories so that it would be harder for newcomers to even find the stream. Yeah, I might have reached Iron Man 3 level of paranoia.
As you can tell, I found myself right back to the same mentality I had prior to Star Wars The Force Awakens. I was letting spoilers control me and once again it was exhausting. Ultimately, it's a movie, it doesn't matter but at the same time, I find joy in experiencing it as fresh as possible. Something like Infinity War is the culmination of 10 years of groundwork, something that will most likely not happen again in my lifetime. It's easy to get wrapped up in the moment. I don't regret any of the steps I took to prevent knowing more about the film than I wanted, but I'm still finding myself coming back to why it's something we even have to do in the first place. I don't have any answers. Honestly, the only reason I'm writing this is to get off my chest. Even though I remained spoiler free there's still this feeling of being left with egg on my face for how strict I handled all this. Maybe I'm being hyper-aware of the grand scheme silliness. Maybe this was one long text-based exhale of two weeks of careful Internet browsing. Maybe I'm not proud of how easily obsessive I become. (thetapLurk anyone?) There's still truth to the idea that at a certain point I have to let go of how much spoilers matter to me. When you give in and react it only incentives people to keep finding ways to get a rise. It's a chicken-egg situation that may never have a solution.
I can say this though, thank you. I'm fortunate that I have a community that worked to keep our chat as spoiler free as possible. I'm fortunate that I have a mod team that is willing to listen and bounce ideas off on how to combat this for me and the community. Manny, Becca, Kiko, Aero_Ken, Dav, and Tate are all wonderful people who helped reign in as much of the talks as we could. I couldn't do this without them. So thank you.
(WE START BY DIPPING THEM IN WARM MILK CHOCOLATE, AND ALLOWING TO REST FOR 15 MINUTES. THE COOKIES ARE THEN SERVED WITH A GLASS OF COLD MILK)