Spoilers are critical in this site, hiding up information and answers from those who want to keep the mystery and because you're supposed to. Now most new users who answer, don't use spoilers because they don't know how to do that.

So in short, can we add a bullet point for spoilers in the "How to Format" box you see while creating answers and posts? The bullet point would be like this:

  • Make spoiler by adding >! in front of line

or something short and simple like that.


I've added:

► mark spoilers by placing >! at start of line

to the asking sidebar.

This pushes down the advice to "put returns between paragraphs", so you should be on the lookout for new users not creating paragraphs properly.

There's no setting for helping people in answers, however. That would require a code change.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Lots of spoiled answers can be now unspoiled! The bullet point is just enough $\endgroup$ – Anthony Pham Feb 9 '16 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ I wish to note that Jon ignored my original suggestion of including the words "please never" in front of this guidance. $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Feb 9 '16 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ It never hurts to add something like this to the docs, but the problem also lies partially in the fact that, here, on puzzling.se, it's convention to put answers in spoilertags. I can certainly see how people, given both other SE sites as well as the normal connotation of the word "spoiler" (i.e., divulging a textual element of a piece of media that someone who hasn't experienced it yet might not want to experience), would not know they're supposed to use the spoiler tags without more explicit guidance. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 10 '16 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ @question_asker: I think the convention is pretty obvious once you read a question or two. The bigger problem, which Shog alluded to, is that spoiler markup is generally antithetical to the way Q&A sites usually function. Answers are supposed to reveal knowledge previously hidden. This site tends to push the boundaries of what works on a Stack Exchange site. Nothing wrong with that, but the cost is we might not be able to support this use case as well as the typical cases. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Feb 10 '16 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Uh, everything from the second sentence of what you just said inadvertently agrees with what I said. Where we differ from other SE sites is generally that, on other SE sites, people come looking for answers to (usually established, or at least "searchable") questions, whereas most of the "questions" here are actually puzzles concocted by the users (and as such, finding them through a search would be purely coincidental). This means that people are unlikely to read other questions before posting an answer to the question they stumbled upon. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 10 '16 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ @question_asker: I guess we are in violent agreement then. ;-) My main point in the comment is that we are unlikely to be able to support the Puzzling paradigm with developer resources anytime soon. Sorry I wasn't direct in saying that. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Feb 10 '16 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JonEricson That's a totally fair point - there are things here that could definitely benefit from being reworked structurally, but that's not really an option (for entirely understandable and defensible reasons), but the important point is that we recognize that there fundamentally are differences between puzzling.se and most of the rest of SE, and try to be patient with users until such a time that said structural reworkings could be possible (maybe never! That's only a problem if we make it one). Obligatory smiley: :) $\endgroup$ – question_asker Feb 10 '16 at 17:06

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