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Well not a great situation as you can imagine. Some members of staff (not in my department) have taken to spoiling the plot of the latest Star Wars film, upsetting other members of the company. This manifests by people writing notes with plot details an sticking them around the office/gents. How can you deal with this behaviour?

NB. I haven't seen the film yet so no spoilers please!!

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    Makes me want to post spoilers from their next performance review around the office. – Mohair Dec 23 '15 at 12:30
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    Apparently some people are having trouble with this, so I will make this clear. Do not post Star Wars spoilers on this question/answers (real or otherwise). The content of the new movie doesn't matter for this question and it's disrespectful to the asker to post spoilers. Thanks. – enderland Dec 23 '15 at 15:21
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    @Frisbee I would lean that way too, but sometimes it's impossible to avoid reading something, especially if it's just a few large words on a piece of paper. – mcknz Dec 23 '15 at 17:41
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    If you're working in a company where this is acceptable culture, you may want to consider changing where you work. TBH it sounds symptomatic of what are probably numerous larger problems with the environment. – Wayne Werner Dec 23 '15 at 21:58
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    If you feel this question is too trivial, not worth asking, or otherwise not a real problem/question - just don't post. Making fun of or mocking the asker is not appropriate. Beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will. – enderland Dec 24 '15 at 14:50
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Does being deliberately obnoxious in such fashion count as unprofessional behaviour? I think it does. Have any of the managers noticed? If any are as annoyed as you your problem will go away quickly.

In the meantime you can send a group email asking them politely to stop, 'them' being the 'unnamed perpetrators', I wouldn't name anyone specifically at this point.

Hello everyone, a number of our colleagues have noticed post-its with Star Wars spoilers in the gent's. Some of us who haven't seen the movie yet would rather not have it spoiled to us. Please consider not doing that anymore.

Whether or not the email actually makes them stop is mostly irrelevant because it's a shot across the bow. What you're doing is establishing a grievance on which to base possible further action. May the force be with you.

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    Most important thing here is establishing a grievance. If they spoil this movie, they'll spoil the next one. Or they'll ruin something else. Or do something further to create an environment that is not conducive to productive work. – TylerH Dec 23 '15 at 19:47
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    @CarlWitthoft It would be a first-world problem if that was the worst problem. But it's a problem that you can do something about. That temperamental manager and budget freeze are probably out of OP's hands. It's weird that people on other comments seem to think that's the worst of OP's difficulties at their job when that's not being suggested at all. – rath Dec 24 '15 at 12:42
  • @TylerH Any movie that is not interesting if you already know what happens is not worth watching. – Casey Dec 25 '15 at 17:42
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    @Casey That's some serious misdirection you've got goin' on. First, who said this movie (or any movie) is not interesting if you already know what happens? Second, people often see movies with others. Third, spoiling a plot point (even a major one) is a far cry from knowing everything that happens throughout the movie. Fourth, the phrase "the devil is in the details" comes to mind, here; we pretty much know the plot for most movies that come out. What makes them enjoyable is seeing how the director and cast bring it to life via their specific implementation. – TylerH Dec 25 '15 at 19:40
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    @TylerH What I mean to say is that if the experience of the film is truly "spoiled" for you by someone telling you some plot point, then it was not a good movie in the first place. Most people have watched their favorite movies more than once; they seem to enjoy it despite already knowing what happens. – Casey Dec 25 '15 at 22:08
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To be quite honest, its a little shocking that people would even go that far in the workplace. It is ofcourse unprofessional and unacceptable at the same time.

You should have a word with these perpetrators (if you want) and otherwise escalate this to your/their management. This is making the workplace less comfortable and friendly for colleagues who like star wars for no discernible reason.

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    You are going to go to your supervisor and another person's supervisor and complain about hearing movie spoilers? Let me know how this turns out for you.... (little note in my book to never give this complainer a promotion would be step 1) – blankip Dec 23 '15 at 20:20
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    @blankip: No, this is a completely reasonable complaint. It's anti-social behaviour. Regardless of the fact that it's Star Wars, or that it's a movie, the fact of the matter is that this is either bullying or trolling, and neither have any place whatsoever in the office. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 23 '15 at 22:15
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    blankip, I've worked for folks who believe stuff like that. I just leave and get a better job where people treat each other respectfully. – Michael Durrant Dec 25 '15 at 13:09
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    @blankip In what workplace context is it OK to deliberately make people uncomfortable? – Magisch Dec 25 '15 at 15:28
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There are two problem-sides to this argument.

  1. The people who react. Nobody likes a movie to be spoiled but once it's done, it's done. The only thing you can do is mark the person in your mind as a [unpleasant person] and move on - while avoiding them for the foreseeable future. Throwing a fit about it is a problem.

  2. The people who are trying to get a reaction. How they go about it is irrelevant, not being respectful of others' wishes can be a problem when it doesn't interfere with their work, and especially if it's something they shouldn't be spending their time on anyway. Depending on the workplace culture, posting sticky notes in certain places could be a problem as well.

Some members of staff (not in my department) have taken to spoiling the plot of the latest Star Wars film, upsetting other members of the company... How can you deal with this behaviour?

Largely, it depends on how your company would normally handle complaints with certain individuals and whether you, yourself are being complained to, (or have a complaint). Because, if not, I would recommend you to get over it and move on - or to tell your own staff the same so long as it isn't already disrupting normal business activity.

But, if it is disrupting normal workplace activity (and you're not the only one whose team it is affecting) If you know who it is, and know their Manager, it could be best to relay the complaints to their Manager and work out some way where both of you can continue without needing to address this ever again.

If you're legitimately worried about reputation in reporting any issue to somebody such as your manager or another manager, you can always go to HR with it. I would highly advise against sounding like you are "tattling". Just let them know what's going on and how it is affecting your, or your team's, normal work. But keep in mind that if the issue shouldn't be affecting your work, it would still reflect poorly on you.

  • I do agree that management might not see posting spoilers as being disruptive. Perhaps a rude person, but so long as it doesn't affect work they probably can't do much about it other than tell you not to converse with the person. I also agree that it might reflect poorly on you if you are complaining about someone telling you movie spoilers when it has no other effect on the business. – Dan Dec 24 '15 at 17:05
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Posting spoilers in the workplace is an attention-seeking behavior, and any attempt to stop them will feed their egos.

I suggest having some of the Star Wars fans get together and create the wildest, most creative, most contradictory collection of spoilers they can, without regard to accuracy. The true spoilers will disappear in a flood of spoilers that cannot all be correct, but people who have not seen the movie will have no idea which ones to believe.

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    Its fine to call a stop even if it feeds their ego a bit. If they choose to continue, lets see what happens to their ego when they are put on disciplinary action for something so childish. If they still think its a joke, see what happens to their ego when they are let go for unprofessional workplace behavior. – DoubleDouble Dec 23 '15 at 19:54
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    I also disagree with the spoiler-war. I haven't seen the movie, but since Don't read if you don't want to (possibly) be spoiled! you have so many things around the existence or end-of-movie status about some unknown character, it kind of suggests that something is going to happen to a certain (unknown) character. And you don't need a bunch of stickies everywhere.. – DoubleDouble Dec 23 '15 at 19:59
  • @DoubleDouble The last Star Wars movie I saw was episode I, The Phantom Menace. It was so bad I decided not to bother with the rest. I have not read any spoilers for the new movie, because I am completely uninterested in it. Anyone who uses my writings to project what happens in the current movie would be better off using tea leaves. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 23 '15 at 20:59
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Well it is obvious that you need to have a group meeting maybe every 2-4 weeks to discuss the upcoming movie schedule. If you have a large team I would make sure this is at least 4 hours. You will need to go over:

  1. Important movies for the group.

  2. Group member's schedules to see the movies coming up.

  3. Acceptable conversations that can happen about each movie before the cut-off date.

  4. Way for an employee to file a movie extension if they can't meet the cut-off date.

So there you go - this would be how you handle spoilers.

But I hope you can tell I was being sarcastic - this is the dumbest thing ever.

How do you handle it? The same way you handle an employee talking about how their shit went in the bathroom - try not to listen or remember it.

What can managers do? Nothing. I don't have time to deal with this crap. This is 2nd grade stuff.

What would I do as a manager? If I saw this happening on my own, I would tell the Dark Side to calm down and hit the Dark Side with a mountain of work. They weren't really doing anything "actionable" but I can give them tons of work as retribution.

What would I do if an employee came to me complaining? Have same reaction to Dark Side but then I would know that the good guys are a bunch of complainers that can't handle anything on their own - and quite frankly they are more worried about their movie getting spoiled than working which is really sad. It wouldn't be a good move career wise to tattle on these employees at all.

Why are these guys acting like this? Because they think they are cool because they got Star Wars tickets before others. How do you keep this from happening? (the first word of the 2nd movie)

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    The conflict is the issue. Not how the conflict originates. People are expected to be respectful of others. At least where I work. – DoubleDouble Dec 23 '15 at 20:15
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    The "brief conversation" is exactly what I'm aiming for. Tell everybody to grow up. – DoubleDouble Dec 23 '15 at 20:21
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    @DoubleDouble - I added some of my comments to the answer. My issue is an answer with that many upvotes basically telling the OP to tattle. The tattler will be thought of just as bad as the assholes or worse. To think that someone would come and tattle to me about a movie spoiler... wow not only petty and wasting my time but it really points to no self-recognition. Someone I wouldn't trust around clients. – blankip Dec 23 '15 at 20:31
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    If someone at work upsets me, and I am not in a position of authority towards that person, then the two solutions are: 1. Punch them. 2. Ask my manager to sort it out. Solution 1. is frowned upon in every place I ever worked at, leaving solution 2. With a "Star Wars" movie spoiler, personally I couldn't care less, but I know there are people that would take this very very serious, and if these people complained and their manager didn't act, I would think that manager is useless. And if a manager makes me think he or she is useless, then the person is useless, by definition. – gnasher729 Dec 23 '15 at 22:40
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    This would be a much better answer without the sarcasm. – Keith Thompson Dec 24 '15 at 1:14
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You need to approach this as an issue about putting up unauthorized notes and not about specifically putting up spoilers for a movie. Many places have an approval process to post anything on a public bulletin board and limit all postings to that area. You could institute something like this to be able to handle all inappropriate postings. But I would avoid approaching management and complaining that someone "spoiled Star Wars" for you. This would come across as incredibly childish to most people with the authority to do anything about it.

protected by Monica Cellio Dec 23 '15 at 18:43

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