20140224-155117.jpgOK, we need to clear something up. Here are the rules to help you navigate the era of Twitter and Facebook and Netflix and DVR and subscription premium cable.

1. You have exactly SEVEN days to watch an episode of television after its original air date, and upon the expiration of that time period you may not complain about spoilers. When a new episode airs a week later, full and candid discussion of the previous week’s episode is fully sanctioned. Your failure to keep your DVR neatly groomed does not require our self-censorship.

2. If a show is released exclusively online in bingewatching full-season quantity, you have one month from the date of release, at the conclusion of such time you may not complain about spoilers. (For example, you have until March 14 to complete House of Cards.)

3. Under no circumstances may you squawk at people about spoilers for discussion of a show’s previous season when the new season is under way. Guess what? Lady Sybil dies in childbirth! Ned Stark gets beheaded! Henry Blake’s plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan! Not a spoiler a year or more after it happened.

4. You may not wade into a robust comments chain obviously dissecting a previous episode or season covered by the above rules and then complain about spoilers. Don’t look under a large rock if you don’t want to see dirt and bugs.

5. Finally, if you do not subscribe to HBO, you may not cry spoiler on the off chance you’re going to buy the DVDs or download in a year. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

These are the rules. Learn them, embrace them.

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