Welcome to the Internet, kids. There be spoilers here.
This morning, we ran the following headline: "Pretty Little Liars Shocker: Ezra is A?! Relive The Series' Most OMG Moments!" That story was then shared on Twitter, using the same headline.
The feedback we received on Twitter ranged from "F--K @eonline FOR THE PRETTY LITTLE LIARS SPOILER IN THEIR HEADLINE WHAT IS WRONG WITH Y'ALL" to simply, "spoiler alert." Thank you for your feedback.
Spoiler alert: Ezra was revealed as "A" two (2) days ago.
Here is a definitive guide to avoiding spoilers for your favorite TV series:
1. Stay off the Internet.
We know spoilers are just the worst if you're not actively searching for them. (If you are though, check out Spoiler Chat! Spoiler Chat, for all your daily spoiler needs... #sponsored). We have been spoiled before. We know.
But when are you allowed to be mad that you were spoiled? See below:
I got spoiled and the show just aired tonight! Can I be mad about that?
Spoilers are spoilers for 24 hours after the episode airs. Which is why, when Pretty Little Liars aired on Tuesday, our headline read: "Can You Believe [Spoiler!] is A?!" (Sidebar: If you went into that article and were spoiled, that's your fault.)
But if Ezra's identity as "A" was revealed in a headline the night of—or worse, before it airs on the West Coast—that's inconsiderate. Some people can't watch the episode exactly when it's on and, for 24 hours, it's the duty of those who have watched the episode to keep spoilers to themselves.
Verdict: Yes, you can be mad.
I got spoiled because I haven't had a chance to watch the episode on DVR! Can I be mad about that?
If you care enough to get mad about being spoiled, then you should care enough to watch the show the night it aired. Or, at the very latest, the next day. After that, it's no longer those who have watched the episode's responsibility to shield you from spoilers. It's yours.
Which is easy. Stay away from sites that might contain spoilers. Don't Google news about that show or about the actors on the show. Until you watch that episode (why haven't you watched it yet?!?!), assume that anywhere you look, there could be a spoiler.
Verdict: No, you cannot be mad.
I got spoiled on Twitter. Can I be mad about that?
Twitter is a free-for-all. One response we got on Twitter said, "WTF WHILE WATCHING I C THIS" To which we ask, Why are you on Twitter while you're watching the episode? You can stand to be away from your timeline for 42 minutes while you watch your show. Turn your phone off.
Networks literally advertise hashtags onscreen during the show, to use to discuss the show. No one on Twitter is worried about spoiling the show for you. It's called livetweeting, not "waiting until everyone has watched the episode to tweet tweeting."
Mute hashtags. Scroll past tweets that have the show's name. Don't log on Twitter.
Verdict: No, you cannot be mad.
I got spoiled while I was binge watching past seasons! I just started watching and am trying to catch up, but I'm only on season 2 and now the season 4 finale is spoiled! Can I be mad about that?
Oh, we're supposed to wait for you to catch up before we can talk about the show?
Do you have a time frame for us? We'll just sit here silently until you're ready.
That said, we're happy you're finally watching it—was it our recommendation that got you hooked? We'll still talk to you about everything when you get caught up. In fact, we're looking forward to it. But in the meantime, we'll be talking about it over here. Bye! Watch out for spoilers!
Verdict: Are you kidding?