Survivor Sucks

aka SS

See the wikipedia entry for Survivor Sucks.

Survivor Sucks Wikipedia Article - Formatted for Wikidot by SonOfAbraxas


Survivor Sucks
Survivor Sucks Logo

Survivor Sucks (aka Sucks) is an internet forum located in the Yuku message board system. There are various forums where users freely spoil (which in this context means to reveal the outcome before the show airs), discuss and ridicule the reality television show Survivor as well as other reality television programs such as The Amazing Race, Big Brother, American Idol, The Apprentice and any "Other Show That Sucks." In 2006 the website expanded its reach into non-reality programming when a forum for the ABC TV series Lost was opened. In 2008 the website expanded when a forum for The Mole was created. With more than 45,000 registered users (known colloquially as Sucksters) and over ten million posts since its founding in 2000, it ranks among the largest and most active communities in the Yuku network.

History

The board takes its name from the earliest incarnation of the website, SurvivorSucks.com, which was a spinoff of the website RealWorldBlows.com which is now known as PlanetSocks.com1 (Originally known as PlanetSucks.com).2 All of these websites were created in the spring of 2000 to lampoon the television series Survivor during its first U.S. season.3 When the original site's servers buckled under the heavy traffic at the beginning of the second season, the site's creator and owner, Paul Sims (known by the moniker "DogStalker")4, moved the Sucks discussion forums to ezboard on February 14, 2001. Sims no longer handles the daily affairs of the board, having divided control among a handful of appointed administrators. However, he remains the system owner of record and occasionally makes an appearance. On August 9, 2007, the site moved to Yuku, ezboard's new message board system, retaining all of its existing data. With the move to Yuku the SurvivorSucks.com URL was set to redirect to the Yuku based community, which was not possible when the board ran on ezboard.

The tone of the board is combative, sarcastic and caters to those who ridicule the Reality TV genre in its entirety. Several Sucks members have also successfully applied as participants in one reality show or another. Like many open forums, in-jokes and cliques are prevalent, and a significant portion of member entertainment is derived from flaming newbies and taunting established community outcasts. However, the membership also includes avid fans and reality television celebrities. Those who are sensitive to criticism of their favorite shows or characters are welcome to participate but will quickly become aware that criticism is not censored. Very little is censored on Sucks and foul language often prevails. Images exhibiting genitalia are not permitted but in general the site should be considered Not safe for work.

SurvivorSucks serves as a central gathering point for Survivor's "spoiler" internet subculture, which is devoted to predicting, or "spoiling", the outcome of each season. Prior to Survivor, the board "Reality Sucks" had focused upon the ridicule of MTV reality shows such as The Real World. What would become SurvivorSucks.com, originated as a separate forum on "Reality Sucks."5

Spoiling History

The production of the first season of Survivor broke new ground in American television programming. Survivor set the standard for what is now called Reality Television, and dominated in the ratings.6 Described as a "sociological pseudo-Machiavellian human experiment".7 Survivor was designed to be the antithesis of the traditional game show. The winner would be rewarded based, not on what they knew, but upon their ability to navigate the sharply structured social pecking order of the other contestants. This would become the hallmark of the Survivor television show and establish a signature tactic for future winners.8

The game itself was, by necessity, played, filmed and edited months before being broadcast on television. This meant that the game play and the ultimate outcome was determined well before the series actually aired. Survivor producer Mark Burnett heightened production security to insure that episode details and outcomes were kept secret before airing. For example, contestants and staff were asked to sign confidentiality contracts that specified multi-million dollar fines for disclosing any information about the show.9

Survivor Entertainment Group (SEG)10 edited Survivor to increase the suspense and lead to a surprising, but pre-known, conclusion. Avid fans of the program are generally divided into two groups. Those who wish to enjoy the suspense and surprise of the game play, and those who find further enjoyment by searching for clues which will prematurely reveal the outcome. This second group of people migrated together through the availability of websites like SurvivorSucks, and gave the name of "spoiling" to the hobby of prematurely revealing the results of Reality Television. Clues to the programs outcome can be found by carefully examining previews and commercials, by searching information through websites, by communicating with some "inside" source, and through other means. The news media did not fail to pick up on this new trend and some users of the SurvivorSucks website began to call themselves "Sucksters" and "Spoilers."

Before the airing of the first season of Survivor, a forum user, using the moniker "7o62x39", created an online game in which other board members could speculate on the weekly outcome, and earn points. When publicity photos promoting the first episode were released, some game players noticed beard growth, particularly on contestants Greg Buis and Rudy Boesch, which appeared to be from future episodes of the show. Realizing that CBS had released previews and photographs which were from future episodes, the forum members began an attempt to discover or "spoil" the outcome.

Online conversations regarding contestants longevity, based on logic and assessments of various amateur forensic examination of clips, quickly became a central point of the website. For example, in the show’s opening montage for episode 1, contestant Greg Buis was identified with a full beard, confirming he continued on the show through at least a few more episodes. SurvivorSucks forum users began an elaborate chronology of the contestants campsites, tools and reward objects and clothing. Some forum users also noticed Survivor contestants wearing clothing previously belonging to others, suggesting that the original owner had been eliminated from the show. As new publicity pictures and previews were released, screen captures were matched against these chronologies and dated. Using these clues, the SurvivorSucks users were able to correctly predict the eliminations through Episode Seven.11

SurvivorSucks is described as "the Internet site CBS loved to hate"12 since it both provides publicity for the Survivor television program and "ruins" the surprise and suspense the producers are trying to maintain. An interesting example of this is the "Gervase-X" spoiler, which was believed by many to show Gervase Peterson as the Survivor: Borneo winner. A SurvivorSucks user going by the moniker "CAPLOCK" found a picture on the CBS website which contained an "X" through the face of each contestant except Gervase Peterson. This generated more publicity with North American newspapers reporting the "spoiler" of Gervase Peterson being the first Survivor winner13 However, Gervase finished in seventh place, and the national news painted this CBS produced "planted" picture as a victory over the spoilers at SurvivorSucks.14 There are other incidents of Survivor show producers manipulating images in the program to disguise future events and throw the SurvivorSucks users off the spoiler track.

Notwithstanding these efforts, SurvivorSucks users have continued, through the various seasons of Survivor, to discover accurate information about the outcome of the show. For example, in 2001's Survivor: The Australian Outback, a user known as "AtlantaFatMike" was able to determine the fate of contestant Michael Skupin when he discovered pictures on Skupin's business website showing Skupin post-show with bandaged hands. This led users to speculate that an accident involving Michael Skupin had occoured during filiming which proved to be true when an episode aired showing Skupin falling, hands first, into the campfire.footnote]]Janet Kornblum, USA Today [11],'Survivor' site gets ahead of the burn Feb 8, 2002 . Retrieved Jan 23, 2008[[/footnote]]

During 2003's Survivor: Amazon, a user known as "ChillOne" provided descriptions of the yet to be aired season, including the final four contestants of that season. This information was obtained from locals during a vacation to the filming area. ChillOne later published a book about his travels and his experience as a Survivor Sucks "spoiler"15, and has gone on to collect similar spoilers in the same fashion for subsequent seasons.

Entertainment sites tout SurvivorSucks as the "GoTo" place for fans of the the show to find "spoiler" information, but advise, "Don't Go If you don't want to know".16

Vote for the Worst

SurvivorSucks is the origin of the "Vote for the Worst" (VFTW) movement. Created by the user "thefunnystone", the VFTW movement enraged American Idol viewers in 2005 when contestant Scott Savol outlasted other, supposedly more popular contestants, due to fan attempts to deliberately sway the show's results.17 VFTW made headlines when Savol ended up in the top five over Constantine Maroulis during season 4. The media again took notice when VFTW helped Kevin Covais into the top 12 over Gedeon McKinney during season 5, although Covais' run on the show was short-lived.18

Season six of //American Idol// became a turning point for the website due to its support of contestant Sanjaya Malakar. Sanjaya went on to last 6 more weeks in the competition, becoming a cultural phenomenon and gaining momentum along the way with support from celebrities such as Howard Stern.19

The website is also widely credited for the victory of season 5's Taylor Hicks.20

Culture and Current Events

SurvivorSucks remained online during the September 11 attacks, and a thread discussing that day's events became an invaluable source of information and emotional support for many users who did not have a television nearby and/or could not access news websites due to the tremendous internet traffic. The thread was archived, unedited, and provides an emotional, play-by-play, frozen in time "picture", chronicling the events of that day as information about the attacks progressed. The thread is featured in a special memorial forum opened each year on the anniversary of the attacks.

SurvivorSucks achieved the distinction of being ranked number fourteen of twenty five sites named by Entertainment Weekly's "Best Of the Web".21

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