Andy’s Controversial Take On Spoilers

I know my point of view on spoilers in sport is controversial so I figure I owe some explanation.

Let’s assume a sport fan, fw, has watched a sporting event while another fan, fn, has not. There is a certain amount of enjoyment, e, to be had in watching an event live, unaware of the outcome. However, the enjoyment of a sporting event is not merely in knowing the outcome, eo. The enjoyment of a sporting event also comes from knowing how the outcome was achieved, eh. So, e = eo + eh. I have certainly been on both sides of the coin: I missed this past Superbowl because my wife wanted to go to a movie and I watched Harumafuji win this very Nagoya basho live last year and, as an eager fanboy, was extremely excited to share the result with my friends.

So here we have it: Which is greater: ∑fw (eo+ eh), the enjoyment of fans who watched the event and want to freely discuss how in the hell Edelman caught that pass? or ∑fn (-eo), the enjoyment lost by those who learn that the Patriots won another title, yet without having watched the event? I believe that even with the outcome known, both fans have more enjoyment in the HOW than merely the final score. ∑fw (eo+ eh) > ∑fn (-eo), and I firmly endorse the free speech rights of fans who want to freely discuss an event.

The implication is this: I put together this blog for the comment section, not so I could read my own take on the sport. As a fanboy of this professional king of the hill we know as sumo, I find every Tochinoshin/Ichinojo match-up just as thrilling as every Micky Ward/Arturo Gatti (RIP) battle. On reddit yesterday, I was reminded of the greatest henka ever: Hakuho pulling one over on Kisenosato from about five years ago. Kisenosato charged at Hakuho prematurely, not once, but twice! Hakuho was fuming and even bumped that dastardly ozeki. The drama is something to behold…and is certainly not lessened by the fact that it’s a historical bout with its outcome long ago known and determined.

Granted, I love the sound of the voice of the dude who narrates NFL films. But that’s beside the point. I don’t watch the sport like a gambler, just interested in whether I made the over/under. I watch the sport for the technique and the drama and I cover this sport because I want to share my love and appreciation for that drama. Now, y’all can flame me to your hearts content. No comments will be censored in this thread.

19 thoughts on “Andy’s Controversial Take On Spoilers

  1. Not sure about your math ;-) but I know better than to check Tachiai if I want to watch the bouts “unspoiled.”

  2. Well, thank you very much for spoiling Super Bowl LI for me… More seriously, I’m of the opinion that it’s up to each individual “consumer” of sports to ensure that they’re remaining unaware of news they don’t want to know yet. Putting the onus on the “producers” is an undue burden – how long should stuff be embargoed for? 6 hours? A day? Back when sumo news was much harder to come by, there were people who insisted on not being told anything about the tournament until they would get to watch the highlights packages a few weeks later, and that other commenters should strenuously obscure anything that could be seen as a spoiler. Weeks! I always thought that was nuts.

    I guess the situation in the Day 11 preview thread was unfortunate, but it’s been made clear now by you guys that no part of Tachiai is a spoiler-free zone, so it’s up to us readers to handle things accordingly.

    • I love that you produced math to support your position, and that the math actually describes the outcome. I am in awe.

  3. Well, I think that eₕ is also enhanced by watching before being exposed to other people’s takes on it. But I also believe that it’s absolutely not anybody’s other problem than mine: if I want to enjoy seeing exactly which body part Ura latches himself onto this time before somebody just describes it, then I simply don’t go and read. I stop reloading Tachiai at about 10AM local and read again at 8PM local, after the NHK highlights are done (I’m at UTC+3).

    I guess some people just can’t stand the self-denial that this entails (I suppose that’s a compliment to Tachiai: some people are just addicted to it).

    • You caused no problems, that’s for sure. It was a fun post and I really do appreciate all the feedback. Last year, I think it would take a month to get as many page views and all year to get as many comments. Yes, I am here for the page views and the comments because that means more and more people are enjoying sumo with me. :)

  4. I’ll respond here since it seems more relevant but to be clear this is a response to Bruce’s take from earlier today as well

    This is the right thing to do. I’m not going to lie, it is frustrating knowing that I shouldn’t check the site throughout the day for updates and debate and also that I need to really be careful of what I’m looking at on Twitter! But whose problem is that? Mine.

    The world doesn’t revolve around where us punters live, the world revolves around where the action is. It’s a Japanese sport, it’s on Japanese time, and the best commentary and the best sites are going to react to that accordingly. After all, the NSK didn’t force me to live in Los Angeles! If anything, I should be upset at NHK for not offering better options to consume the sport than the 20 mins highlight package that I often can’t watch until 930pm pacific time because it’s not available on demand until after midnight.

    But it is refreshing to watch the day’s events and then know there’s a ton of content here for me to check out and members of the community with great opinions to enjoy.

  5. As someone who lives in the western US I am VERY careful about how I consume my sumo info/media. Jason recently addressed this in one of his videos after some people complained about people spoiling the video in the comments. It is ridiculous to ask someone who has just watched an event to not discuss the outcome of that event in the forum provided. If you;re a person like me, who cannot (or chooses not) to view an event live, and do not want is spoiled, then avoid the specific forums provided for those who have watched it to comment about the outcome. That is like asking people walking out of a stadium to not talk about the outcome of the game because you haven;t gotten home yet to watch it on DVR. This shouldn’t even be controversial. Just sounds like sour grapes.

  6. Cannot say that I really have anything to add other than another voice in support of instant coverage. Let’s be honest, it isn’t exactly difficult to steer clear of sumo related news when not in Japan, so onus really is on the individual. I personally love avoiding all sites until I have watched the highlights and then having a huge binge. I even managed to recently avoid the first 8 days of this Basho due to being on holiday, what a glorious Sunday night that was! 😊😊

  7. Reading Tachiai is my second treat of the day, after watching the bouts. It’s been really great as my work has been a grind the last week or two. Real-time coverage is perfectly reasonable, I just make sure to do everything in the right order. Thanks for everything!

  8. Actually the spoilers here have been lessening my enjoyment, as I wait for the nicely edited format on Bruce Mensiung’s YouTube channel, which takes longer to be released, and I wait to watch them in the evening with my husband. I can’t resist going into the blog though, since I really enjoy your analysis and predictions. So it has been a double-edged sword, increasing enjoyment by reading your analysis of what’s going on, but lessening my enjoyment due to spoilers. I definitely would prefer to be surprised!

    • THAT BEING SAID, the problem is my own (unable to resist going to your blog) and not yours. But if there was a way to make a separate page for the current day and previous days, I could always avoid the current day page and just read your analysis of the day that I already saw.

  9. I saw the title “Purple Rain” in my wordpress reader yesterday and cussed at myself for being stupid enough to check my blog before watching the sumo videos. Then I was shocked when Harumafuji won!

    Tempest in a teapot. You guys do you and keep doing it well. People who care about spoilers know how to protect themselves. This is a fan-made ESPN. No one goes to ESPN and then complains about spoilers from the previous night’s games. Actually, I guess some probably do complain. But that’s their fault.

  10. Why should this be controversial? It is your blog and you get to decide the content you want to run. If someone does not want to be spoiled, they should stay away.
    As long as you are open about your policy, which you are, no one should be able to complain.

  11. Hi! i’m lurking here since september of last year, what started as a curiosity turned out in an addiction to sumo. But i know how to refrain myself and only read this page right after seeing the NHK highlight. As the next makuuchi bouts are a few hours later (about 3am where i live) it would be impossible to spoil myself from reading the comments, so i suggest a bit of self control and just realize that this site is the best english-speaking source from anything sumo (i guess there are others, for me Tachiai is more than enough), but it is not spoiler-free. Regards from Peru and thanks for all the effort, both from the article authors and comment posters. I have learned a lot this last year, and became a fan of the sport and the rikishi.

  12. I don’t agree with the comparison to the Super Bowl, though. The Super Bowl is watched by maybe half the country, and the results are shared by every media outlet. I’d say, conservatively, less than 0.5% of the U.S. population follows the bashos.

    I also don’t think Andy’s take on spoilers is controversial at all. There are two camps here, both are pretty valid.

  13. Hey, I’m famous!

    Allow me to introduce myself: I’m the person who replied, “Argh! Spoiler alert!” after Andy’s tweet yesterday that mentioned Mitakeumi upset Hakuho on day 11.

    First and foremost: I was joking! It was a lighthearted tweet I just threw out there.

  14. Now that is out of the way, I’ll respond in a more serious manner.

    I was bummed that I read about the upset before watching the match, but that’s the nature of social media. I’m only able to watch the last NHK viewing of the day, which is at 12:30 AM my time, a full day after the live event. I still check out @tachiai_blog regularly, because I’m usually able to discern which ones will be spoilers; those I just wait a day before reading. Also, because I’m the ugly American, most Japanese names look the same to me, so I won’t remember which rikishi A beat which-rikishi B by the time I watch the match.

    This particular time, the first sentence I read after clicking the link told me that Hakuho lost. Dagger!

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