Site Rules / Spoiler Policy

Welcome to my new home on the Internet!

Here, I will be reading and reviewing various literature series (and a few one-offs), experiencing them with my own unique take things and seeing how they relate to the world at large.

You may be familiar with the two series that brought me here: Mark Reads Twilight and Mark Reads Harry Potter. If not, then join in on the party. (You’ve got a lot of reading ahead of you, for the record.)

This space will serve to clear up some rules about conduct in the community. I welcome a rich, engaging comment experience for everyone who wants to participate. I want people to feel like they can be a nerd, a geek, and a concerned activist all at the same time. Let’s talk about a few rules and then we’ll get to our spoiler guide for this site.

In order to contact me for problems or concerns, please email me! This is answered by me ONLY, so it’s the best way to get ahold of me.

markreadsandwatches [at] gmail [dot] com

These rules have been updated as ofJune 22, 2012.

RULES FOR COMMENTING

1) Don’t spam. The end. You’ll be instantly banned.

2) No egregious name-calling or bullying. If you feel like an argument is getting out of hand, report it by clicking the “Report” button on the bottom right below the comment. Please do not escalate any argument to personal, ad hominem attacks.

3) No use of any pejorative slurs allowed in any context EXCEPT when you are quoting something or explaining about its usage in culture. You are allowed to use them to talk ABOUT them, but are not allowed to USE them to talk. Deal? Deal.

Quite a few people have still managed to use slurs on this site, despite that I have even addressed said slurs in my reviews! So, can we all PLEASE strip “crazy” and “lame” from our vocabularies immediately? And if you are called on it, please stop and MOVE ON. No defending your use of those words.

Edit from December 11, 2011: It seems people still do not understand this rule and are set on fighting me, calling me “politically correct,” which is a horrific term that’s virtually lost all meaning forever because no one uses it right, a “tyrant,” someone who “gets off on controlling others,” and many other wonderful terms.

If this rule makes no sense to you, I highly suggest you read this comment of mine from aBattlestar Galactica review that explains why I have this rule about pejorative slurs. I am not judging you, I’m not censoring you, I’m not stunting your growth: I am trying to make this community open for everyone who posts in it.

4) No bigotry, racist, sexist, cissexist, transmisogynistic, ableist bullshit will be allowed. I can’t list every form of oppression that exists, but think about your words: are they at the expense of a minority group or a vulnerable community of people? Are you being mean for the sake of it or to make an ill-formed joke? Have some courtesy to those around you; you have no idea who else is reading the comments and can be potentially harmed or triggered by your words.

(On this same note: If I’ve said something shitty, feel free to publicly or privately call me out. I am not exempt in any way.)

If someone calls you out: Take a moment to breathe and think about why someone would say that to you before reacting. Most of the time, you’ve used oppressive language or said something that, regardless of intent, is pretty shitty. Do NOT turn it into a personal attack about how people are too “sensitive” or “politically correct.” YOU WILL BE BANNED.

Given what happened in a recent Doctor Who review over on Mark Watches, I’d like to expand both numbers 3 and 4 to make sure that this does not happen again. I’m going to send each of you to Derailing For Dummies and suggest you read it. Yes, that very name is tragically ironic, given that “dumb” and “dummy” is recognized as an ableist slur, but it is still a wonderfully complete site to explain exactly why some of the things privileged people say are inherently (or blatantly) fucked up.

I wanted to create a list like I did below for spoilers, but I felt that there was no way I could do it as comprehensively as that site. If you are called out, please do not engage in any of the privilege-denying garbage located at that link. Sometimes I’ll warn you. Your comment will probably get deleted by the moderation team. And some days, I’ll just get tired and you’ll be banned. Whatever happens, please know that this shit WILL NOT BE TOLERATED on Mark Reads.

I’ve said it before and it stands bearing repeating now: If I have to make the majority feel uncomfortable to make the minority feel welcome, I will.

Edit: January 2012: Okay, a lot of you still want to fight me on this. If you are at all confused about the use of a lot of -isms and whatnot, I am going to direct you to this wonderful resource that might explain a lot of what I talk about or is brought up in the comments:

Social Justice 101!

I do not expect everyone ever to read that whole page before you comment, but I wanted to provide a more comprehensive resource for anti-oppression terminology and history. I would advise everyone spend some time on this page, and to specifically look at the section that might pertain to you. I am not trying to be annoying or irritating by asking people not to use slurs, to not derail conversations, or to not ignore any power dynamics in a conversation. I am trying to create a community where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome with discussing and engaging fiction in an entertaining way.

5) I am not the government. The First Amendment doesn’t apply here. This is my site and you post by my rules. If you invoke any free speech bullshit and claim that I’m infringing your right to say what you want on my blog, that is an instant, permanent ban. Not only are you wrong, but I won’t waste my time dealing with you.

Because I am going to be reading series/books that I have had no experience with (as well as other members of the community, we have an ongoing and VERY STRICT spoiler policy in place. Please read this before you post a comment. (FYI, this is the same one that was on MRHP, but I just removed all the HP spoilers.)

WHAT COUNTS AS A SPOILER

1) Stating something that happens in the future.

EX: “Mark, that one character dies in book two!”

Effect: You git, you just ruined everything and I hope you never have another happy moment for the rest of your life.

2) Hinting that something happens in the future.

EX: “Mark, I can’t wait until you get to that part in the desert with the unicorn. It’s so exciting!”

EX: “Oh man, Mark, there is a scene in your mom’s house is awesome! Just wait!”

EX: “They’ll explain why that person is named that in the future.”

Effect: You’ve just removed the element of surprise. May all of your future relationships end with spontaneous combustion.

3) Telling me a specific moment is important.

EX: (And this actually happened) “Oh Mark, I can’t wait until you get to chapter 5 in That One Book You Are Reading. Shit gets so real!”

Effect: Again, ruined the element of surprise. I hope you get nothing but coal for Christmas this year. Oh, and Santa Claus ended up to be real, so tough luck, asshole.

4) Defending your favorite character because they were redeemed in the end. (The inverse is true, as well as defending moments or arguing about specific scenes.)

EX: “Mark, please don’t be so hard on your sister. She gets better!”

EX: “I wish you weren’t so harsh on that one guy. I swear, he doesn’t end up being an asshole.”

EX: “I didn’t like That One Book You Are Reading because the end was so depressing.”

Effect: You’ve both biased my opinions on a certain character/moment/book AND removed the element of surprise. You will have a major relationship end on Christmas AND get nothing but coal.

5) Telling me the “answer” is in a past book.

EX: “Mark, GO LOOK WHAT SO-AND-SO SAID ON PAGE 87 IN BOOK 4!!!!!!”

Effect: Half the experience of reading/watching anything that is this dense is seeing what I pick up on and which details I pass over. You are essentially taking away a moment of epiphany/surprise. THIS INCLUDES TELLING ME TO GO BACK AND LOOK AT FORESHADOWING.

I hope your underpants turn into bedbugs.

6) Saying, hinting at, discussing, referring to, or ambiguously cluing me in to anything I have not read yet.

Here’s a great guide to determine if what you’re about to say is a spoiler. Have I read about it yet? THEN SHUT YOUR TRAP AND DON’T POST ABOUT IT. THE. END.

7) Telling me I interpreted a scene wrong or that I made a wrong prediction.

Just don’t. There’s a whole separate issue that you’ll see me bring up about how things can be read any number of ways, but this addresses the fact that you have the full knowledge of this game or story and I do not. What seems obvious to you will not be for me. Allow me to be wrong and enjoy my embarrassment.

YOU MAY USE ROT13 TO DISCUSS ANY AND ALL SPOILERS. If you see gibberish in the comments, it’s rot13. Go to rot13.com, paste in the gibberish, and then cypher it back to NORMAL WORDS. You may use this in reverse to post any spoilers. ALWAYS WARN THAT YOU ARE GOING TO SPOIL SOMETHING. Say, “Spoilers for season 6″ or “spoilers for the episode “Name of Episode.”

Let us now discuss the ~consequences~ of such a travesty if you do decide to post a spoiler here on my blog.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SPOIL

1) Public humiliation.

It’s really my favorite thing. And it will happen and you will get buttmad by people calling you out. So the theme of this section: Deal with it.

Deal with it. You were rude enough to post a spoiler because you didn’t have the entire rest of the Internet to talk about something I hadn’t read yet OH WAIT YOU HAVE THE ENTIRE FUCKING INTERNET TO TALK ABOUT CHARACTER DEATHS.

Deal with it.

2) Warning/scolding from me.

I don’t mean to suggest that my opinion is more important than yours, that my views trump anyone else, or that I’m some sort of monarch around here. I am not and that’s not how I work. But it will not be in your best interest to piss me off or spoil me because my MANGER is a very special kind of manger and I like to reserve it for shitty authors and Dolores Umbridge.

Deal with it.

3) Comment suspension

That’s right. I’ll flat-out prevent you from even leaving a comment if you do this more than once or your spoiler is particularly bad.

Deal with it.

4) I swing the banhammer.

Surprisingly, I’ve only had to do this ONCE. I don’t like to resort to banning, but I’ll do it if you’re that pervasive. And look…I’ve made a career out of banning people, so don’t think I might be reluctant to do so or that I’ll get sad that I lost a reader. Because I won’t! In fact, I’ll probably sleep like a baby knowing I ruined your day. I AM EVIL.

Deal with it.

If I’ve missed a form of spoilering, please let me know so I can amend this.

DEAL WITH IT.

59 Responses to Site Rules / Spoiler Policy

  1. RideForeverO.o says:

    Can you pretty pretty pretty please do a review for the book Artemis Fowl? It would be most appreciated. :)

  2. Qwerty says:

    Mark, can I make a suggestion? I think you should have a link to Mark Watches dot net on this website, and a link to Mark Reads on your other website. Like under the header with the link to this page? A convenient portal link. Easy flipping back and forth, you know? Sometimes I'm lazy and don't feel like taking my keyboard out–plus it's extra typing if I'm on my iPhone.

  3. tethysdust says:

    There was a very surreal moment during reading the rules where I believed you stored shitty authors in a manger. Like, with lots of hay and baby jesus. I hope I never end up in your manger. Whether its the man-anger kind or the sort that stores animal food.

  4. phoebe says:

    i love this.

  5. PK1312 says:

    SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE.

  6. Meg says:

    Is there a place for recommendations for the next "Mark Reads/Watches"? Because I really, really really want to see what you would think of His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. The worldbuilding is amazing and the mindfucks are epic. Just epic. So I'll just throw that out here, since it seems more logical than ranting about a completely different series in a chapter review about a completely different series.

    • Kate says:

      I agree – those books are fascinating, and have some neat religious commentary in them – having read your take on SMeyers's mormon worldview, I'd love to see what you think of this…

    • Garth says:

      For what it’s worth I’d love to see Mark read…

      The Magic Faraway Tree Books by Enid Blyton

      Something by Stephen King (The Stand, IT or, if you’re a real sucker for punishment, The Dark Tower Series)

      And Then there we’re None by Agatha Christie (a bit of communal murder mystery solving would be awesome)

      The Inheritance Saga

    • Many Rainbows says:

      oh yes, His Dark Materials.. so lovely! i recommend these books, for sure!

  7. Doombro says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a Mark Reads Eragon blog…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  8. Paige says:

    Is telling you my opinion about the book as whole count as a spoiler?
    fictional example: I hated the second book in the Oprah Winfrey Is A Dictator series
    (probably)

    • Integrity1584 says:

      Have you heard she's getting her own television CHANNEL starting new years day? Discovery Health is becoming the Oprah Winfrey Network. No joke. That woman's power is terrifying.

      • Integrity1584 says:

        ALSO the acronym for Oprah Winfrey Network is OWN. As in she is going to own everything when she takes over the world.

  9. potteraholic says:

    another spoilery-type thing, which i mentioned when u were on buzznet, is gifs, fan art, and other visuals that can be unnecessarily revelatory.

  10. John_Wayne1708 says:

    I think this site needs a "Mark Recommends" Because there is no way Mark can review everything but I'd still like to have a reference list for books I would be interested in reading. Maybe each book could have a general review rather than a chapter by chapter.
    In other words I need new books to read.

  11. lelouch says:

    Please consider reading the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.

  12. Zictor says:

    Do spoilers count for the Re-reads? There is something in Book one that made me accurately call Dumbedore's death 10 minutes into reading Book 6, where do I mention it?

    • Yusra says:

      As far as I'm aware, you may attack Mark with all the spoilers you want in the re-reads! :D
      {since they're no longer spoilers} also, for what you want to mention, I say mention it before/at the chapter review when it comes round. See if Mark can spot it first, I say.

  13. ashesfromasupernova says:

    This isn't probably the place to post recommendations, but you should look at the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. The trilogy is scifi/fantasy with social commentary– it should be right up your alley!

  14. Maggie says:

    Mark, you are amazing. Just saying. I literally cracked up many times throughout this post and I always die laughing in your reviews (well, not the sad ones, but the funny ones).
    Also, I think you should read some John Green books. His books are SO good! They're all pretty similar though. But yeah. They're not in series form and they're not super action-y, but he is a really good writer and they're kind of…deep. I think you'd like them and how cleverly funny they are.

  15. hazelwillow says:

    Mark, I'm sure you are inundated with things to read. But I can't resist adding another:

    "The Thief,"
    "The Queen of Attolia" and
    "The King of Attolia."

    They are a Children's/YA series by Megan Whalen Turner, about a fascinating and trickstery thief (as the title suggests). They are VERY smart and VERY well-written and EXCITING and SUBTLE. And even more than that, I think they would make excellent Mark Reads books because they are practically written to be re-read, they are so rich with detail, so they would be a lot of fun for people who are reading along with you AND those who have already read the books, like with HP.

    You may be getting louder calls for things like Artemis Fowl, but I'd offer that many readers in your community would enjoy these a lot. They are not as well-known as the should be (especially as the first one won a Newbery Honor)!

    • notemily says:

      Man, I really do think there should be a separate page for suggestions but I couldn't resist commenting on this one because every time someone mentions the Queen's Thief books I can't help but say that THEY ARE THE BEST EVER. Also, don't forget the fourth book, "A Conspiracy of Kings"!

    • fnoodles says:

      didn't like the first book that much but the second book and third and fourth books are awesomeeeeee

    • PigRescuer says:

      THIS.

      Also, we can't say anymore because any plot description that makes them sound interesting is a spoiler.

      Thief. Goes on Journey. Does some stuff.

  16. Saber says:

    Oh wow this was funny. I'll just post keyboard throw up instead of spoilers, ok?

  17. Arianna97 says:

    "I don’t mean to suggest that my opinion is more important than yours, that my views trump anyone else, or that I’m some sort of monarch around here."

    Completely Missing the Point, but: the second I read the word "monarch", I immediately thought "King Mark."

    I. Don't. Know.

    • ThreeBooks says:

      Hold on, I need to visit Blingee to get a picture of Mark to wear a big sparkly crown… and tons of bling. Because that's the kind of king Mark would be, right?

      And yea, those who approcheth the seat of all wisdome in the Literary Lands shall be blinded by the fires of His hate for Stephenie Meyer, shining forth from His Thug Life necklace like the wrath of many angry gods, and shall be enlightened by the glow of his golden teeth that laugh whenever Rowling makes someone ejaculate…

      …yeah.

  18. cade says:

    I absolutely love reading/watching along with you Mark. I've been a silent follower for quite a while. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us and making reliving the Harry Potter series so much fun! I'm also greatly enjoying The Hunger Games with you. They actually remind me a lot of another trilogy that I ABSOLUTELY love. The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. The Uglies trilogy is also about a young girl in an oppressive future society who becomes involved in a complicated triangle between two guys, but like any awesome story, that blurb doesn't do it justice. Anyways, I know you get inundated with recommendations, and this trilogy might seem a lot like the last but the world and the technology Westerfeld creates is just so amazing and fully realized. The trilogy addresses so much from teenage angst to body modification and from willful brainwashing to riding a hoverboard over a broken roller coaster. So, if you ever check it out, I think you would enjoy it even if you don't have time to feature it on your site.
    Thanks again!
    Cheers

  19. Kira says:

    Does it count as a spoiler if we got the information from an interview with the author?

  20. Yusra says:

    Love the new banner, Mark! :D

  21. Emma says:

    Hi, Mark. I'd post this on your latest chapter but my laptop is screwing with me. A few months ago when I first got heavily into your readings of Harry Potter (I love that specific graphic on The Prince's Tale, btw), having read the series from 1998-2007 aged 10-19 and loved it as much as you did if not more, I searched your website hoping to find that you'd also read His Dark Materials, as The Amber Spyglass is my equal favourite book to date, so much so that I devoted much of my undergraduate dissertation to praising it. Thus I am ecstatic to find tonight (coincidentally while coming across your thoughts on DW A Good Man Goes to War, which I just watched and liked a lot myself) that you have finally started on what I as a British person must insist on calling Northern Lights, though I won't insist you do of course. I hope you like the trilogy as much as I do.

  22. feminerdist says:

    Random thing. I have a question about clarification for the spoiler policy. Now, keep in mind, this isn't referencing ANYTHING, but I've been watching along with Mark for BSG, and there was a potential rape that happened a few episodes back (the one with the prisoner ship; I have no idea what the episode was named). I know spoiling is bad, but would Mark have appreciated a trigger warning in regards to that? I'm asking this after the fact for the no spoilers reason and in case this might come up in the future with regards to future projects, and also for other people watching/reading stuff for the first time.

    Mods, help me out. and let me know if this is considered a bad spoiler or an exception to the rule.

  23. Brieana says:

    So, I really hope that Mark has tumblr savior and has made sure to blacklist everything he hasn't seen/read that he will read or watch for his websites.

  24. evenstarwen says:

    Read Tigana. Please, please, please read Tigana. There's just so much poetry there, and quiet moments of beauty, and terrible moments of grief, and it will haunt you for the rest of your life. Or if you'd rather do a series next read The Fionavar Tapestry. They're by Guy Gavriel Kay. I will love you forever and forever and forever and your children's children, too.

  25. Janelle says:

    I do realize that this comment may be a waste of internet space, but I just finished Mark Reads Breaking Dawn and need to say this. So basically; DILL WITH IT.

    Mark,

    I love you. You are fabulous and your ending for the Twilight Saga was a trillion times better written then the book COMBINED. In conclusion, I love you tons, DFTBA.

    Love, Janelle. :)

  26. arithmancer says:

    Random comment – I have am a longtime Tolkien fan, and have been reading and enjoying the Hobbit reviews and comments from the start here, and spent (gosh, does this make it 3?!) weeks wondering how anyone would have time to manually encode the numerous rot13 comments other fans make, and also how anyone manages to have the patience to respond to them.

    It might help other readers with similar lack of internet savvy to mention that encoding/decoding sites that do the hard work for us are out there… more quickly than I did, if this was suggested in the Spoiler Policy post.

  27. whoah this blog is great i love reading your articles. 937477

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  28. Great content, thanks a bunch for sharing.

  29. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    That will be in the final custom design! It's just not there now. :)

  30. Yusra says:

    I believe this comment as to be updated now: XD

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