338/366 – The Unfortunate Spoiler Effect Of Online Theories

westworldTheorycrafting has taken a whole new life ever since the internet’s refined its ability to bring communities of people together in a way that allows for them to be communicated, read, and discussed. Where in the old or early days of the internet you found that only email lists were the only good means of creating persistent discussion threads, now we have forums, subreddits, Twitter, and Facebook groups to guide us along or bring us all together in a communal think tank of trying to figure out where a show is going.

But it’s not all great. Even though there is the obvious community building and creativity you get exposed to in online communities for shows, and even though they have some very obvious benefits as far as extending the range of commiserating with other fandoms is concerned, there’s some instances in which they don’t particularly provide a good benefit to you. The most obvious instance is in spoiler theory. If there’s anything that a collective of internet minds can produce, it’s working out a show’s inner puzzles and storylines, and while that might be good as far as being prepared for the show, it isn’t so great for trying to watch it and wanting to be ultimately surprised by the reveals that are coming. If you’re aware of all the possibilities, when one of them does happen it feels nice, but a little bit of a letdown for having it figured out by someone random online beforehand.

It’s hard to temper this feeling, and it’s made a bit more difficult by the fact that the internet is merciless when it comes to fan theory. If it’s been thought of, it’s probably been dissected, analyzed, and taken apart/put back together by people online a bunch of times, and while it’s nice to see some insight that someone is happy to discover and which triggers a mental revelation on the part of a show’s fans, it also makes a show feel predictable rather than something that has an element of surprise. So what you’re really seeing is not just an affect on you, but also on the way that a show is perceived and potentially appreciated (or not, depending on how predictable it seems to become).

In the end, like with movies, if you really want to stay not so up-to-date and want to be pleasantly and casually intrigued, you’ll likely want to stay away from the internet until something is done and over so you can have the retrospective that won’t be as harmful to your viewing enjoyment. Obviously, if you aren’t affected by this, or if you feel like it enhances the viewing experience, you’re free to continue onward with being a part of and participating in a show’s online community. For my part, I think I’d be happy looking at all the reviews and recaps and theories afterwards, when they’re harmless to my experience and for when I can go re-watching to enjoy everything all over again. I’ll leave the speculation and endless theories to the internet.

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