A spoiler alert has been issued after local man, Jackson Smith, was overheard discussing the ending of the 1980 film, The Empire Strikes Back with friend, Leslie McDonald.

“I thought he was joking around when he said that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father,” said McDonald. “By the time he said ‘Spoilers, by the way’, it was too late.”

McDonald, who had managed to avoid this well known fact for almost 40 years before this incident, was planning on watching the entire Star Wars saga after the release of Episode IX.

But McDonald isn’t the first person to be bummed out by spoilers. A rising number of spoiler alerts have been issued in recent years. In a new poll, a staggering 100% of respondents said that they had shared a spoiler themselves.

Melanie Collins, an expert in spoilers, says there are things you can do to help reverse this damaging trend. “Don’t consume entertainment. Don’t speak with friends. If you absolutely must interact with other people, you should assume they have minimal awareness of anything,” she suggests.

Collins, who has been spoiler-free for 15 years, credits her own experience with spoilers for leading her into the field. She accidentally found out she was adopted, following an offhand comment from her mother. Until that moment, she had believed that the parents who raised her were her biological family.

“I felt betrayed. Here was an enormous piece of information that I simply had no idea about. It floored me. It made me angry. I couldn’t believe my mom would reveal that without giving me a heads up so I could avoid it,” Collins said.

She wants her story to serve as a cautionary tale.

“I just want people to be able to discover important plot points at the proper time, whether those are in their personal lives or in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. I was deprived of learning that I was adopted before I could seek a match for a kidney transplant or accidentally date my brother. No one deserves that,” she said, breaking down into a frankly embarrassing display of emotion.

But not everyone agrees about what constitutes a spoiler.

Gerald Latinski, a synopsis writer, believes that spoiler alerts should be more strictly defined. Latinski has been writing movie synopses for 45 years and worries about the implications for himself and his colleagues if the scope of what is considered a spoiler alert isn’t reigned in.

“I’ve seen more people targeted with spoiler alerts in the last 5 years than I ever have. Revealing the name of a character is considered a spoiler now. Talking about what happened in the trailer is off limits. It’s out of control,” Latinski said. “In the old days, we would include the plot twist when describing the film.”

Latinski even goes so far as to suggest that people attempt to avoid spoilers on their own. “I believe that after 5 years a movie plot should be exempt from spoiler alerts and a person who isn’t in the know should protect themselves.”

For now, the risk of spoiler alerts is considered *SPOILER ALERT* elevated.

What do you think?