The article of May 21 New York Times written by Stanley Fish under the title, “What Do Spoilers Spoil?” begins with the following lines:
Over 10 percent of the comments on my ‘Hunger Games’ column brought up the question of spoiler alerts. "Haven’t you heard of a spoiler alert?", one exasperated reader asked.
No. I haven’t heard of the word spoiler alert as of yet.
The article ends with the following line:
If ‘The Hunger Games’ is so shallow that it can be spoiled by a plot revelation, the alert doesn’t save much. If ‘The Hunger Games’ is a serious accomplishment, no plot revelation can spoil it.
From the context of the column, I can interpret the meaning of “spoiler alert” two ways:
It means a comment or warning to the effect of “the work isn't worth any further reading” to others, or
Just “revelation of the end result of the story to others”.
What does “spoiler alert” here mean?
Does the question in Stanley Fish’s statement, “Haven’t you heard of a spoiler alert?” mean that ‘spoiler alert’ isn’t the word everybody knows, or just an irony to the author thrown by one of his readers?