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Overview

Our community utilizes spoiler functionality very heavily. However, it's lacking in obvious areas such as comments, chat and titles. [1] In a post, it's easy to use a spoiler by appending an exclamation point ! to the block quote's greater than symbol >, resulting in >!:

> This is the syntax for a block quote.
>! This is the syntax for a spoiler.

This results in a box that we must click on before its secrets are revealed to us:

This is a spoiler block.

However, this functionality isn't provided anywhere but within post content. How does PSE as a community get around this issue currently?

What is a Caesar Cipher?

For those who are unfamiliar with what a Caesar cipher is, let me begin with an excerpt from Wikipedia that explains it very well:

In cryptography, a Caesar cipher, also known as Caesar's cipher, the shift cipher, Caesar's code or Caesar shift, is one of the simplest and most widely known encryption techniques. It is a type of substitution cipher in which each letter in the plaintext is replaced by a letter some fixed number of positions down the alphabet. For example, with a left shift of 3, D would be replaced by A, E would become B, and so on. The method is named after Julius Caesar, who used it in his private correspondence.

It's very common for the PSE community to utilize a Caesar cipher (more specifically a 13 character shift is typical) to keep comments and chat messages, spoiler free. However, this often requires the use of external sources such as the ROT13 website, which isn't ideal for new users, nor users that are weary of external sources who might participate if this functionality was somehow provided locally.

What can we do?

Well, I want to propose this as a network wide change on Stack Exchange's full meta site, but I want to get feedback from the PSE community beforehand. If we could get extended spoiler functionality, how would we want it to work? My current idea is centered on how Discord handles spoiler text with the use of pairing vertical bars (pipes, virgules, etc.) around the text to be hidden:

This message contains a ||spoiler||.

However, I'm wondering if the PSE community has any additional ideas surrounding the topic before I create a post requesting the functionality on the network wide meta.

Questions

There are a few questions we should probably come to a consensus on, with reasonable explanations, in order to get the ball moving more efficiently if/when this is posted as a request on the network wide meta:

  • Do we want to extend spoiler functionality?
    • How would we want it to work, e.g. what should the syntax be?
    • Should comments support it?
    • Should chat support it?
    • Should titles support it?
    • Are there additional areas we should evaluate for support?

1: Areas are ordered by heaviest need based on community use of alternatives.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, sometimes it is a pain in the neck to do rot 13 in comments, especially when we don't know what is getting encrypted. $\endgroup$
    – Stevo
    Oct 4 at 4:44
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    $\begingroup$ Another problem with rot13 is that it does not hide numbers, typically. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ Spoiler tags should definitely be supported inside comments. Rot13 is so annoying I don't even bother decoding it. Inline spoiler tags in posts would be a nice addition but not critical in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Florian F
    Oct 10 at 10:15

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