So Game Informer is doing a month-long series on Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is available here
for anyone who's interested and hasn't seen it already. It went up last week, and since then the details have been coming fast and furious: from the article, from the website, from developers answering questions and dropping hints on the BioWare forums, from fans speculating about these tidbits of information and coming up with theories based upon them.
And I totally understand the impulse to tear through every scrap of data you can find, especially when it's been so long without any new content, but it's not for me. I want to approach the game as a near-blank slate, a new experience. I want surprises. I want to discover the characters and get to know them as the game presents them, not have my impressions adulterated by advance fan reaction. I don't want to guess all the plot twists for myself in advance. I don't want to develop elaborate headcanons that will almost certainly be contradicted by the events of the game. Again, nothing wrong with that, if it's how you enjoy doing fandom. But any fun I get out of that kind participation is negated by the sense that I'm ruining the games for myself.
In a way, this is nothing new: I've been dodging spoilers on the Internet for about as long as I've been on the Internet, and it's impossible to avoid them entirely -- I was spoiled for a key Harry Potter character death by a headline on CNN! But nothing has prepared me for the experience of spoilers on Tumblr. At least in my other fandom venues, people have always used spoiler cuts or white-on-white spoiler text. Tumblr has no spoiler text option, and while cuts exist people don't tend to use them, especially not for images, and you can't put tags behind them at all. It's not built into the site function, but more importantly it's not part of the community's culture. In "the olden days" of journal reading, you usually got at least a few days between something being released and people posting lots of spoilery things about it. On Tumblr, it's often a matter of minutes before images and gifsets and reaction posts are everywhere.
So for the first time ever, I've installed blocking software (the xkit extension), and although it's helped, it only works as well as people are willing to tag. It's like an arms race, keeping up with the tags and terms that different people use, and I have to wonder how effective it will be. I've already asked three people to be more careful about tagging, and they were all receptive, but at some point I'm probably just going to have to unfollow people. It's either that, or quit Tumblr for a year and a half, and I really don't want to do that. The other day, I was half-joking with here_be_dragons
about creating a "DA3-free-zone pledge" and only following people who agree to sign it, and although it was mostly a joke, I wonder if it would actually work.