Skip to main content
Best News Website or Mobile Service
WAN-IFRA Digital Media Awards Worldwide 2022
Best News Website or Mobile Service
Digital Media Awards Worldwide 2022
Hamburger Menu




Commentary: Spoilers won’t ruin your favourite book series, TV show or sports team

One study found that readers preferred stories where they had the ending revealed to them beforehand.?Spoilers seem to be everywhere, says this University of Cumbria professor.

Commentary: Spoilers won’t ruin your favourite book series, TV show or sports team
Those trying to avoid spoilers for their favourite TV shows or sports games may try avoiding their phones and all forms of social media. (Photo: iStock/Julia Sudnitskaya)
New: You can now listen to articles.
Sorry, the audio is unavailable right now. Please try again later.

This audio is AI-generated.

CARLISLE, England: As I write this, my wife is desperately trying to avoid spoilers for the latest episode of British reality show Strictly Come Dancing.

Having missed the original broadcast, she has been frantically logging out of all forms of social media, lest a stray Facebook status or retweet give the game away. Add to this the possibility of a friend innocently revealing what happens, and it’s clear just how difficult it is to live spoiler-free.

And it’s not just difficult for those watching television. For followers of sports, too, there is a longstanding problem of avoiding the final score before being able to watch the game.

Popular book series also face the problem of key twists being revealed too early. When JK Rowling’s novel Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince was released in 2005, a banner was hung over a bridge over the main road in Shropshire revealing an important character’s death.

Council officials swiftly removed the banner - although possibly because it was likely to fall, rather than out of fear of ruining people’s enjoyment.


Spoilers, then, seem to be everywhere - and the general view is that they are bad. In its extreme form, “toxic” spoilers arise from both the pleasure some take in spoiling others’ surprise and the use of plot ruining as a form of vengeance.

This ire can be aimed at specific people or the series itself. The latter happened with the Star Wars prequel films, as some fans spoiled the endings for those who hadn’t seen it yet for “immunisation against disappointment”.

Spoilers can be weaponised in this way because of some of our assumptions about them. Most fundamentally, that they ruin enjoyment. But is it that simple?

In a series of psychological experiments published in 2011, researchers in California found that knowing the end of a story did not diminish readers’ enjoyment. In fact, readers preferred the stories where they had the ending revealed to them beforehand.

The researchers theorised that we think of spoilers negatively because we are unable to compare spoiled and unspoiled experiences and therefore assume that the unspoiled is better.

They argued that: “It is possible that spoilers enhance enjoyment by actually increasing tension. Knowing the ending of Oedipus Rex may heighten the pleasurable tension caused by the disparity in knowledge between the omniscient reader and the character marching to his doom.”

These experiments focused on classical literature, which often requires some kind of explanation in order to follow the plot at all. The spoilers in this research were therefore arguably able to complement the plot, at least for a contemporary readership unfamiliar with the complexities of ancient Greek tragedy.

Perhaps the experiments may have reached different conclusions if they had used, say, screenings of the Succession finale.


Also, because the research involved texts that were all written a long time ago, their experiments removed the issue of the timeline of when information does and does not count as a spoiler.

These boundaries are debatable. In 2008, Vulture, an entertainment news website, published a satirical “statute of limitations” on spoiler reveals. They ranged from “as soon as the episode finished” for reality TV to 100 years after its debut performance for operas.

The speed of the spoiler is significant because it is inherently linked to the digital platforms that carry them to both willing and unwilling readers. In other words, finding out things too soon raises more fundamental questions about how we engage with the rapid availability of information across digital media today.

Consider the controversy when a Wikipedia article on Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap was created. According to Wikipedia guidelines, a summary of the plot was required. But the question was whether the twist of who the murderer is should be revealed in this summary, given that theatre audiences are historically sworn to secrecy at the end of each show.

It was agreed, in the end, that users of Wikipedia should expect this information to be revealed. We do not need to be Poirot to deduce from this that our expectation of information being easily and readily available creates the conditions for a constant threat of spoilers.

This points to the real problem with spoilers. Whether they ruin plot twists or not depends on the idea that presenting reductive summaries - pure information - somehow replaces or equates to an understanding of the film, show, or story.

In his book Spoiler Alert, literary theorist Aaron Jaffe argues that the threat of the spoiler hinges on the idea that everything can be translated into information and that information can be found everywhere. But this is - he clarifies with a spoiler alert - a myth. In truth, information is rarely fully accessible or complete, due to the different ways it is stored and connected.

It may seem obvious to say that should I accidentally discover the score of a football game before I get to watch it, it would spoil my entertainment. But the score would not tell me if my team deserved to lose, if they were robbed by a referee’s decision, if my favourite player had improved, and so on. In short, the spoiler does not allow me to interpret the meaning of the game.

So while spoilers seem to require us to log out of X or avoid low bridges on major roads, there is still a part of our enjoyment that blunt information cannot remove.

Tom Grimwood is Professor of Social Philosophy at the University of Cumbria. This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.

Source: Others/el


Also worth reading


bbm bbm777 bong bong marcus free bet welcome bonus online casino Baccarat Dragon Tiger Red VS Black Mercedes & BMW Bull Bull for 100 Birds & Beasts Boom Red Packet Big & Small Andar Bahar 7 Up Down Win Three Cards Banker Bull Bull Cards Checker Bull Bull Bull Bull Brawl Texas Hold'em Mahjong 2P Pineapple Poker Rummy Teenpatti Super Fruits Slot Water Margin Duo Bao Candy Party DuoFuDuoCai Fortune Gods Fishing Fishing Joy Rocket Crash Lucky Dice Double Dice Mines HiLo Circle Plinko Keno Dragon Fishing Dragon Fishing II Cai Shen Fishing Five Dragons Fishing Fishing YiLuFa Dragon Master Fishing Disco Lucky Dragons Flirting Scholar Tang Winning Mask Wukong The Llama Adventure Formosa Bear Lucky Qilin Lucky Lion Moonlight Treasure Coffeeholics New Year Napoleon Four Treasures Open Sesame Banana Saga Mahjong Olympian Temple Crystal Realm Burglar Dancing Papa Chef-Doeuvre Lucky Miner Candy Land Crazy Scientist Super Dumpling Cash Man Lucky Phoenix Dragon King Magic Show Beauty And The Kingdom Guan Gong Winning Mask II OpenSesameII Flirting Scholar Tang II FortuneHorse XiYangYang Classic Mario Happy New Year Birds and Animals Beer Tycoon Super Super Fruit Crazy King Kong Cai Shen Bingo GoldRoosterLottery HappyLottery Reward Dealer Cock Fight Maya Run Panda Panda Zelda Mr. Bao Billionaire One Punch Man Dragon Warrior Dragon Guardians of The Galaxy Street Fighter China Rouge Star Wars Kingsman War of Beauty Daji Gems Gems Curvy Magician Mining Upstart Lucky Racing Fa Da Cai LuckySeven OrientAnimals TripleKingKong BirdsParty GoLaiFu DragonsWorld SuperNiubi EgyptTreasure Fortune Treasure PirateTreasure Mjolnir TreasureBowl GoldenDisco FunkyKingKong SuperNiubiDeluxe MinerBabe Moneybags Man DoubleWilds PopPopFruity Spindrift DragonsGate JungleJungle Spindrift2 LuckyDiamond Kong RexBrothers NinjaX Wonder Elephant MarvelousIV LanternWealth MayaGoldCrazy War Of Empires BigThreeDragons Boom Fiesta Blossom of Wealth Star Line Glamorous Girl ProsperityTiger BBQ Burger Book of Mystery Fortune Neko Elemental Link Fire Elemental Link Water CooCoo Farm CAISHEN COMING FRUITY BONANZA Rooster In Love Monkey King Fire Bull Wealthy Fuwa Inca Empire Ninja Rush Chef Panda Sun Archer Legendary5 Mystery of Ninetails TongbiNiuNiu QiangZhuangLiuNiu TongbiLiuNiu Six Gacha JumpHigh RaveJump JumpHigher Jump High 2 LuckyBats FlyOut Good Fortune God of War Zeus DiscoNight Move n' Jump DiscoNight M jumping mobile FaCaiShen THOR RaveJump2 Wolf Disco Fire Queen Six Candy Good Fortune M ZhongKui Fa Cai Shen2 GuGuGu 5 God Beasts Fire Chibi 2 Snow Queen God of War M WaterWorld Chameleon SoSweet Flower Fortunes Flying Cai Shen Wheel Money Kronos Double Fly TreasureBowl Mr.Rich Gu Gu Gu 3 Zeus M Golden Eggs Fa Cai Shen M Super5 HappyRichYear Hephaestus Fa Cai Fu Wa Ne Zha Advent Fire Chibi Shou-Xin LuckyBats M Running Animals Wolf Moon OrientalBeauty Funny Alpaca 5 Boxing VampireKiss Apollo Fire Chibi M RaveJump2 M SkrSkr Diamond treasure Apsaras Dragon Heart YuanBao HotSpin TreasureHouse 777 Sky Lanterns The Beast War GreatLion FruitKingII 888 Thor 2 RedPhoenix Gold Stealer RunningToro Fire777 Ecstatic Circus All Wilds Meow Detective Dee2 Poseidon WonWonWon BigWolf Boots of Luck Fortune Spirits Lucky 3 LuckyFishing Paradise Oneshot Fishing Lord Ganesha Dragon’s Treasure Jungle Party Cricket Fever Fortune Dragon Alice Run Money Tree Thai HILO Da Hong Zhong Hanuman Bingo Aladdin's lamp Dollar Bomb King Kong Shake Ganesha Jr. Dragon Koi Hot DJ Coin Spinner Hero Fishing Greek Gods Thai Fish Prawn Crab Lucky Tigers Mr. Miser Mummy's Treasure The Chicken House Myeong-ryang 888 Cai Shen Night City Seotda Funky Bingo Treasure Pirate Baccarat Boat of Fortune Football Star Deluxe Ladies Nite 2 Turn Wild Rugby Star Deluxe A Dark Matter Long Mu Fortunes 9 Masks of Fire Break Away Lucky Wilds Lucky Twins Jackpot Ping Pong Star Zombie Hoard Win Sum Dim Sum Wild Scarabs Wild Orient Wicked Tales: Dark Red What A Hoot Wacky Panda Untamed - Giant Panda Treasures of Lion City Treasure Palace Tomb Raider Titans of the Sun - Theia Titans of the Sun - Hyperion Tiki Vikings Tiger's Eye