You record a live event on your DVR to watch later. It's important to you to not know how it ends. Then, you go online and see the results from the recorded event. You get pissed at the Internet. You're pissed at your friend who posted it to Facebook. But you shouldn't be pissed at them. You should be pissed at you.
A spoiler alert is solely intended to protect you from information. In certain cases, it's very valid, like for plot points of a movie that hasn't been released yet. Or for a new series of Top Gear that is filming but hasn't aired.
Giving information key to the plot of these events, events that haven't even aired for public consumption yet, are definitely spoilers.
However, if an event is aired live for the world to see, there is no such thing as a 'spoiler.' It's called 'reporting the news.' This stands true across every single facet of the news, whether it be sports or a crime that was just committed.
Not giving results to a baseball game or a car race after it happens is directly akin to not giving the results of a major election. It happened, it's common knowledge. If you don't want to know what happened, don't look where the information might be. Frankly, to hide the results behind a curtain is bullshit.
Spoiler alerts cater to people that don't have self control. If you go on the internet after you record a live event on TV, no matter what website you go to, you run a huge risk of finding out the information that you didn't want to know.
For my example, I'll use, I dunno, Formula One. For the most part, F1 races are on early in the morning here in America. If you go online after a race is run, there is basically no way to avoid finding out who won the race. With teams embracing social media, you can't go on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Friendster, MySpace, or even Classmates.com without finding out.
As you are an F1 fan, I'm willing to bet that most of your regular websites probably cover motorsports in some way. Cross them off, too. You probably have friends that like F1. That means you can't go on AIM, gchat, or even into your email. You can basically go on websites that you have no interest in visiting, and that's it.
So naturally, whether intended or not, you're going to come across the results. A force of habit might have you make two keystrokes that send you to the results. And you'll be mad. But you won't be mad at you, you'll be mad at whoever wrote the story and GAVE THE RESULT TO A LIVE EVENT THAT JUST ENDED.
I just want you to think about how absurd that is for a minute. Let me put it into other terms: It's like getting mad at the news for reporting how the stock market did because "you recorded it and wanted to find out what happened later." You say that these are different things, but they aren't. These are the same situations.
A major event has occurred. People report on said major event. It can be seen and heard live around the world. You didn't watch it. If you go on a website that normally features news about these sorts of events and you see the news you were trying to avoid, that's your own fault. You went out of the little bubble you've imposed on yourself. The rest of the world is living its life, it's your responsibility to avoid it.
Spoiler alerts also pose another problem: They're clickbait. Everyone complains about clickbait headlines because they don't even try to give you the full story up front and then mislead you once you clicked through.
What is baffling about these so called "spoiler alerts" is that those in the crowd that don't want to know the result actively complain that you didn't make clickbait. I'm willing to bet that these people complain about clickbait headlines for everything else. Why should a minority that don't want to know be catered to?
Here's a great way to avoid finding out the results to something that you don't want to know: Get the hell off the internet. Or, if you're at work and have no choice, stay off the sites you know might cause you an issue.
It's not the responsibility of the press, the makers of Twitter, or the people you friended on Facebook to protect you from the news. It's the responsibility of the press to expose that news and for those other sites to share that information. If a new car is revealed, you don't see a headline like "Exciting New Sedan Comes From This Awesome Automaker." It's told like it is. Because it's news. Just like sporting results.
So yeah. Spoiler alerts for live events are a crock of shit.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock