The Problem with Edgic

Advance warning here: This post is about something 99% of the Survivor-watching audience either doesn’t know about or doesn’t care about: edgic. It is also long.  Proceed at your own peril.

Why Michele? If you're reading this, you probably know why.
Why Michele? If you’re reading this, you probably know why.

Edgic, in theory, is a means of evaluating the Survivor edit without bias to determine the winner. But it has a major problem and it is entirely baked into the assumptions it is created to avoid. This may get a little technical- a little “inside baseball” for many Survivor fans- but if you want to discuss edgic as a tool for evaluating Survivor, read on. (I do want to quickly note that I actually really enjoy reading edgic analyses for fun, but I don’t take them that seriously).

Edgic is a portmanteau of editing and logic (we’ll get to that latter word later), and is meant to be a means of determining the winner through looking at the edit, reading it for three factors: rating, tone, and visibility. Rating considers a survivor’s personality in an episode, ranging from invisible to over the top. Tone considers whether the portrayal was positive or negative. Finally, visibility is how present a survivor was in an episode, usually evaluated on confessionals, rating from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high).

Edgic is an attempt to use those editorial choices that you might not necessarily pick up on consciously to explain the story Survivor is trying to tell. It is not merely the content of what people say that matters, but the music that accompanies it, the placement of the confessional, even the animal that is shown while they are speaking. Boston Rob and Phillip could give a confessional laying out the exact same plan, but Phillip will get the goofy musical cues as he speaks.

The core problem with edgic is rather simple. People are judging and rating two subjective categories (tone and rating), and thereby bringing in their own perceptions and preconceptions as to what constitutes such things as positive versus negative. And what one person may find complex, another may find over the top or middle of the road. Survivor is meant to play to a very broad audience, and as such the story beats it means as positive generally may not seem positive for all viewers.

But before we get too deep into the problem with edgic, let’s look at a few past seasons and their edgic evaluations to see how edgic’s track record is.

PAST SEASONS

There is no “official” edgic as far as I can tell. To the extent that there is an edgic that is considered to be a consensus edgic, it exists on the Survivor Sucks forum. Unfortunately, there is a big, big problem with the Sucks edgics- but we’ll deal with that later. For now you should know I am looking at what edgics I can, but not using Sucks edgics.

Cambodia and Worlds Apart

cambodia edgic 1 cambodia edgic 2 cambodia edgic 3 cambodia edgic 4

worlds apart edgic 1 worlds apart edgic 2

I grouped these seasons together for a reason: edgic nailed the winner fairly early (though there was some odd doubt in that second World’s Apart one). These are good examples of edgic successes, where the clues are pointing one way for a long time and edgic gets it right. I will say that second WA edgic  does symbolize a problem that edgic runs into in other seasons, where someone’s like for a particular survivor clouds their judgment. (Editor’s note: I appreciate you fighting the good fight, Shirin truther!)

San Juan Del Sur and Cagayan

sjds edgic 1 sjds edgic 2

Here is edgic doing a lot worse. The Cagayan one is noticeably awful, but SJDS is also quite poor. The one with the contender/winner pick row at the bottom doesn’t have Natalie there until the second to last episode, whereas the one without it has Jon receiving fewer under the radars than Natalie, the same over the tops, and generally a very similar if not stronger edit in general.

If I keep going you’ll see that Blood v Water, Caramoan, Philippines, One World, and Redemption Island fall in the same category as Cambodia (though there are always a few weird edgics out there, like the guy who didn’t have Rob winning Redemption Island until the second-to-last episode). South Pacific, Nicaragua, and Samoa are similar to Cagayan and SJDS, where the edgics don’t predict the correct winner until right before the end, or at all in Samoa‘s case. In Samoa everyone was predicting Mick or occasionally Russell, while Nicaragua had fun edgics like this (look at Ep 8):

nicaragua edgic

So now that we have seen how edgic treated some past seasons, where does it go wrong?

SUBJECTIVITY:

The fact is that Edgic is reliant on people grading positive or negative qualities, but positive to one person is not positive to the next. Stuff like music, animal editing, and placement of confessionals is supposed to make this more objective, but even here Survivor may have an intention with these choices that is landing very differently for different people.

But there is a bigger reason that edgic may get the winner wrong in certain seasons: edgic is based off a theory that presupposes that Survivor always tells the same story. That certain music is positive because it is positive in other seasons. That certain editing choices presuppose good things, because they are good in other seasons. That certain animal cutaways are good or bad, because they are good or bad in other seasons. That a positive person wins, that negative people don’t, that visibility is important, etc., etc.

So in seasons where we have a winner like Rob, or Kim, or Tyson, or Cochran, or Mike, or even Jeremy, edgic is really good because they all fit the mold of the traditional Survivor winner- someone who builds control early and never lets go (and notice that all but Kim are male…). Whereas when our winner is Natalie A., or Tony, or Sophie, or Fabio, or Natalie W., Survivor has chosen to tell a different story about its winner, whether it be one where they took control late (Natalie A.), they were the most palatable alternative (Sophie, Natalie W.), they were a likable goofball (Fabio) or they were Tony (Tony).

But Survivor tells lots of stories, and as time has gone on Survivor has gotten increasingly sophisticated.  It never gives its winner a truly negative edit anymore (though I wouldn’t rule this out in the future), but it has also realized that it doesn’t have to focus everything on building its winner up. Tony is probably the most interesting winner ever because the show didn’t hold back from showing us every side of Tony.

By now you might be saying: “Hey, edgic isn’t so bad. Look, since Samoa it has totally nailed 7 and struggled with 5. That isn’t bad.” Well first of all, it kinda is bad, and second of all getting that 7 right isn’t that impressive. Think about the winners they got right: Rob, Kim, Tyson, Cochran, Mike and Jeremy. Pretty much all of these seemed pretty obvious soon after the merge. Jeremy was probably the least obvious and he was always the front runner, the only question was whether he would make the end. Whereas the seasons that edgic struggled with had more unlikely or unpredictable winners (Tony was as obvious as the list they got right, but most people refused to see it). Any long time fan of the show could read the edit without using edgic and predict Rob, Kim, Tyson, Cochran, Mike and Jeremy.

But there is another reason that edgic succeeds, and it is the reason I am not using the edgics from Sucks.

SPOILERS:

The biggest unacknowledged problem with edgic is that it is being made with knowledge of spoilers. Now not all edgic people use spoilers, but think about the biggest community of edgic proponents… Survivor Sucks, also known as the place you want to avoid if you don’t want to be spoiled. In fact, spoilers are so baked into Sucks edgic that a group of Sucks edgic devotees broke off before season 24 (One World) to form their own site, http://unspoilededgicersunite.yuku.com/, where the URL says literally everything you need to know. The response of the Sucks board to them leaving was pretty simple: “There’s no such thing as unspoiled edgic.” (And if you want a visual example of that…)

spoiler

So citing Sucks edgics at the end of the season (where they are aggregating everyone’s edgics into a percentage) is an exercise in looking at the most untrustworthy group of edgics, the ones where we are told outright that there is no such thing as an unspoiled edgic. And the unspoiled site’s edgics are behind a password wall to invited members only.

CONCLUSION:

Friends, Survivors, podcast faithful, I came here to bury edgic, not to praise it. But edgic is actually fun for some people. They like applying media analysis to their evaluation of the show, and to those people I say, “You do you.” Just don’t pretend that edgic is actually any better than any veteran Survivor watcher reading the edit, because you can listen to our podcast for people who are reading the edit and doing just as well as edgic (and in Cagayan‘s case, better) at predicting the winner. (Editor’s note: When Matt says “just as well as” he means “equally as terribly as” edgic.)

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Matt

Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
Matt
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  • Other Scott

    Great, great analysis Matt.

    One thing I’m finding is that people aren’t remotely unbiased when applying categories or picking a winner from them either. If someone is already on your radar, things that would be MOR become CP’s, things that would be toneless become positive, and it’s a lot easier to pick out the flaws in other people’s edits.

    Anyways, I picked an interesting season to go all in on the edgic world just to explore it a bit more. The one thing it has done is make me cheer hard against Michele just so a lot of smug edgic-ers can get there comeuppance. And if it’s not Cydney or Michele either, even better.

    • Purplerockmatt

      I mention that point but it kinda gets buried in the mountain of other stuff

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Bravo, Matt.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Two quibbles:

      1. It’s not sporting to take down random idiots on the Internet (talking to Matt, looking at Andy). A useful tool that caused harm because it was mis-used by a dummy is still a useful tool. Like Other Scott, this is the first season I’m really aware of edgic, and it’s not through Sucks (avoid avoid avoid) but Inside Survivor. I’d be more interested in an analysis of where edgic on that site (supposedly by an edgic expert) goes wrong.

      2. What do you have to say specifically about the consensus edgic opinion at this point in the game (i.e., that Michele’s high visibility is not supported by either her gameplay or her insight, which is pointing to a win, probably in a platable-alternative win against Jason and/or Scot, with the editors back-filling a narrative for her)?

      • Purplerockmatt

        I would love to analyze Inside Survivor’s edgic! but it only has one previous season of data.

        • Other Scott

          I think the reddit edgic is the more interesting one for me. It’s a group edgic like sucks, but one unconnected to a site with a long history of spoilers.

          (That said, Caleb should have been an edgic candidate based on his first three episodes, so the fact he wasn’t even on the radar indicates it’s not completely unspoiled.)

          I really have a feeling Michele is going to lose and we can hopefully prove once and for all that edgic is just educated guessing. If Michele wins, I feel like the visibility on edgic is going to be through the roof next season.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I often find myself hoping the editors are fucking with us and Michele is an early post-merge boot they’ve given the “inexplicably visible so must be staying around long” edit to make us all stop trying to read it.

          • Purplerockmatt

            But a post merge boot soon would make sense! They always build up the merge boot just enough that you think its a big deal when they go. and Neal wasn’t the real merge boot

          • Kemper Boyd

            Not all the way through. Usually they get a no visibility at all sudden spike edit but I’m happy to be wrong.

          • Diego Armando

            That is why I think Nick is going soon.

          • I think it is between Nick and Debbie for me, but I am leaning towards Nick. He is truly getting the Kelly Remington edit right now.

          • Other Scott

            Kelly Remington shout-out! Woot Woot!

          • Speaking as someone who completely fell for that misleading edit, it smacks a lot of Nick’s edit. They were largely invisible until the swap and then they come alive. In fact in the second swap episode, they were a big focus of a challenge.

          • Other Scott

            I did a lot of defending Kelly Remington’s edit here and the AV Club, but that was mostly because Matt put her in the zero percent club after the first episode. I don’t think I ever really thought she was going to win.

            My favourite player from that season though, so that helps too.

          • Kelly was your favorite?!

          • Other Scott

            Surely you know by now that my favourites are all really weird choices. I don’t like getting on bandwagons.

          • Still, though…lot of room to move around on that Kelly Remington bandwagon. You could really stretch your legs in there.

          • Other Scott

            It’s definitely a lot roomier than the Jon Misch and Woo bandwagons, anyways.

          • sharculese

            To be fair your Jon Misch hype was at least rooted in things we were seeing on screen.

            Oh, man, imagine if Jon had picked up his phone on time and he and Woo had both been on Cambodia.

          • Other Scott

            I probably would have been insufferable.

            Ummm…more insufferable.

            It’s too bad I don’t have a random, weird favourite this season. Maybe I should pick someone.

            Hmm…that Michele person barely seems to be one screen, that bandwagon can’t be too big, right?

          • sharculese

            Lot’s of room on that Julia hype train…

          • Max_Jets

            But it’s not completely empty! <3 Julia

          • Diego Armando

            I like what I’ve seen of Julia, but she is so not winning.

          • Alycia Swift

            Joe is probably empty.

          • Other Scott

            The Joe bandwagon had Corrinne on it, at least pre-season, so I’m avoiding that one.

          • Alycia Swift

            I think it still does.

          • Alycia Swift

            I’m not sure Jon would have been voted in … and who from the proposed list would have been booted?

          • sharculese

            Recency bias I think would have carried him. As for who doesn’t get on… Terry or Varner, probably.

          • Alycia Swift

            I meant the proposed list – not the final list. Troyzan, Max Dawson, Shane, I forget who else was proposed and did not make it (other than Mike who was dropped because he won). One would have to have been dropped for Jon to get on the proposed list. I don’t think he was popular enough even with recency bias. I still think Terry and especially Varner would have made it to the final.

          • sharculese

            I would say Troyzan, which always seems like a stretch, but supposedly a lot of casuals inexplicably love Troyzan.

          • Nobody loves Troy.

          • sharculese

            When Spencer was on RHAP post Cambodia, he said his girlfriend’s parents, who are like quintessential casuals, love them some Troyzan.

          • No.

          • Other Scott

            Hey! No recency bias required. He was awesome and was the fulcrum of the season.

          • sharculese

            Of the 6 tribal councils he went to he was important in 3 and completely unaware of what was really going on in the other 3.

            Mixed record.

          • Other Scott

            Well I didn’t mean awesome strategically, obviously. Still, only person to put together a plot to get out Jeremy in two seasons. He succeeded where Kimmi failed.

          • sharculese

            To be fair, I also forgot about swap Coyopa, so his record is 5 for 8, not 3 for 6.

          • Other Scott

            Savage I think.

          • Purplerockmatt

            it wasn’t the first episode, it was the episode where i went drunk with power and put all the blue collar in

          • Other Scott

            It was the first episode. I just went back and checked.

            Not that I’m holding the high ground on this in any way, shape, or form. I threw Mike in after the second episode. At that point he was the only person I had zero percented. I then decided I was never doing that again.

          • Purplerockmatt

            oh I threw her in before the rest of the brawn

          • I guess I had a weird feeling that Jenn and Shirin weren’t winning, even with Shirin’s Kathy VO edit and Jenn’s sorta-winner quote at the reward at the last pre-merge episode. I also did not want Mike to win then.

          • sharculese

            When Mike found the idol was the moment I realized I had to adjust myself to a season that Mike won, because that was happening.

          • Oh yeah, Mike’s idol find was the moment that everybody knew he would win.

          • Diego Armando

            I think they are both in the hot seat, but Nick seems be getting the set up for a blindside (possibly via Superidol). I think Cydney may also be in danger, but I am predicting that she is the third medevac.

          • I think the third medevac is Joe because we have got almost nothing from him about him, despite the fact that he is old and a FBI agent.

          • Roswulf

            I don’t know, I think you are overlooking the fact that he might just react to the elements by being unpleasant and boring.

            Such a murderer’s row, this cast.

          • At least the males are unpleasant and/or boring (excluding Tai, of course!)

          • Alycia Swift

            It could also be Scott because of his infections. The doctor did say they would keep an eye on it, not that it looked good, like Tai’s infections. Or Aubry (I hope not) because the antibiotics did not work.

          • Those are definite contenders…however, I fear that they may be red herrings. Although I can see Probst and Production giving a lot of content to the former pro athlete, so he can be memorable enough to come back in a Philippines-type season.

      • Purplerockmatt

        that said I probably should have included their edgic from last season, but they don’t have that fancy winner pick at the bottom (probably because they use edgic more from a perspective of what the show is telling us now, rather than solely to predict the winner)

        • Right. I think their edgic is more about examining what the story is trying to tell us rather than using it as a predictive tool to determine the winner.

          • Purplerockmatt

            And I think that is an excellent use of edgic! I find that analysis a lot more interesting than solely trying to predict a winner

      • andythesaint

        As for Michele, we basically have to wait to see how that one plays out, right? If she does win, then that’s a big feather in the cap of people supporting her victory, since you ONLY get that prediction by focusing on the ephemeral stuff. It’s not there in the text unless you’re squinting.

        Which brings us to Inside Survivor, a site I enjoy and respect. I believe Redmond when he says that he’s not spoiled because that’s not how he likes to enjoy the show (although if any season were to breakthrough the wall he’s tried to erect between casting spoilers and game spoilers, the one filmed almost a year ago would be it). However, he has very clear biases between what kind of players he likes and the kinds he doesn’t. And Michele fits one category while players like Jason or Scot fill the other. He’s not above openly rooting for favs, which COULD BE influencing his analysis in the way Matt describes.

        • Other Scott

          I know Redmond doesn’t like to be spoiled, but it seems impossible that he could avoid it. But if he says he’s unspoiled I tend to believe him, because he has a history of telling the truth about things.

          (Also, when is he going to stop being Redmond and start being Martin Holmes)

          • andythesaint

            I think he’s in the awkward transition phase. It’s tough to rebrand.

          • That’s his own fault. Redmond just sounds cooler than Martin. Should’ve picked a less cool name, like Judge Reinhold.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            “Brenda4evah” is available.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Like you and Other Scott this is my first year knowing about Edgic and I only check out InsideSurvivor. I like it as a way to examine the story so far. But realistically it’s no more scientific than us asserting opinions here.

        • I do the exact same thing, Kemper. I think Redmond (or whoever writes their edgic) does a really good job justifying their reasoning. If you go back to Cambodia, they even analyzed why the editors included Abi failing the word puzzle at the family visit and it makes absolute sense.

          • sharculese

            See, this is where this stuff starts to make me roll my eyes, because I don’t need a reason to include Abi failing at the word puzzle beyond that it was hilarious.

          • Fair enough. Agree to disagree?

          • sharculese

            Depends… are we agreeing to disagree about the utility of analyzing that scene or are we agreeing to disagree about being hilarious. Because I can make the former happen, but no promises as to the latter.

          • Absolutely the former. I adored how nonchalant Abi-Maria was about losing, especially after how Vera wanted her to “Focus!”

      • sharculese

        There’s just too high a ratio of signal to noise for edgic to be more than marginally useful. Like Matt says, there’s too much subjectivity and randomness built into the system.

        I have the same problem with Jeff Pittman and his weird Survivor sabremetrics. Sabremetrics works because baseball has a huge sample size and it’s a closed system with enough predictability that not only does random chance not play a factor, you can literally create metrics that account for random chance.

        Not only does Survivor not have those qualities, randomness and not being a closed system are literally built into the game. So at the end of the day, it’s what Matt said closed with “you do you,” but I don’t know what you think you have besides a bunch of charts and graphs.

        • Other Scott

          I think the difference between baseball and Survivor is not the randomness, precisely, but it’s the fact there is an extremely small sample size (32 total seasons compared to however many plate appearances in baseball) and the game is constantly changing.

          Baseball’s useful compared to other spots for sabremetrics because it’s very individual and the tactics are very static. In fact, when baseball started using a different tactic and started shifting heavily in fielding it threw the fielding statistics of the time into disarray for a little while. It actually has a lower signal to noise than most sports, but it can smooth those out through other means.

          • sharculese

            I did mention sample size, but good point about the game constantly changing.

            Which actually connects to something I meant to address but forgot to. Sabremetrics is also premised on the idea that there’s one fundamental way to win baseall games – don’t get your players out for long enough that you can score runs, get the other team out quickly enough that you can score runs. And yeah, the precise value of the skills that contribute to that change as strategy changes, but the underlying aim is the same and we can evaluate which players best contribute to that.

            Survivor is… not like that. You can win by holding together a tight alliance and making everyone feel loyal to you like Jeremy did, or you can always have immunity when you need it like Mike did, or you can keep your enemies close and put on a show for the jury like Natalie Anderson did, or you can be Tony like Tony did, or you can have tight bonds with people you know the jury likes less than you like Tyson and Cochran did, etc. etc. all the way back to Borneo.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Also, also, also! Thanks.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Two quibbles:
    1. It’s not sporting to take down random idiots on the Internet (talking to Matt, looking at Andy). A useful tool that caused harm because it was mis-used by a dummy is still a useful tool. Like Other Scott, this is the first season I’m really aware of edgic, and it’s not through Sucks (avoid avoid avoid) but Inside Survivor. I’d be more interested in an analysis of where edgic on that site (supposedly by an edgic expert) goes wrong.

    2. What do you have to say specifically about the consensus edgic opinion at this point in the game (i.e., that Michele’s high visibility is not supported by either her gameplay or her insight, which is pointing to a win, probably in a playable-alternative win against Jason and/or Scot, with the editors back-filling a narrative for her)?

  • Roswulf

    I agree with the critique of Edgic (especially spoiled Edgic) as a predictive mechanism, but I do want to defend it as an interesting descriptive representation of a season’s arc.

    Even looking at a clear predictive “miss” like SJDS, there’s something compelling in seeing the switch from Invisi-Reed to primary underdog foil Reed, or Natalie’s evolution from cartoon-to Jeremy’s forgettable second- to proagonist, or Drew’s Drew-ness (any representation of Drew’s game makes my cackle) tracked through episodic edits. Especially when Survivor is telling an atypical story, it’s a useful way to retrospectively examine the pacing of the story, without relying on shaky memories of forgettable pre-merge episodes. Surely there is still bias, but bias is unavoidable.

    • Purplerockmatt

      You know I will agree with this, Edgic as a descriptive tool for what the show is saying now, rather than what the show will be saying is by far the most interesting aspect of it, and something I should have brought up.

    • Purplerockmatt

      the funny thing about spoiled edgic? I didn’t even know it existed until I started writing this! Someone suggested I find Sucks edgics and when looking for them I came across the spoiled quote and then John found that hilarious chart I included there. It made no sense to me that anyone would edgic while spoiled, but apparently that is a big thing there

      • Other Scott

        I don’t know if it was me who directed you there, but I had a vague knowledge of those goings on and that’s kind of what I was getting at with group edgics. But I appreciated the research and it really put it into perspective. I mean, Katie was literally the number 2 winner contender throughout Palau, which…what?!?

        • Purplerockmatt

          you directed me to sucks for aggregate edgics and the first thing i find is the thread where the unspoiled group leaves and the first reply is “all edgic is spoiled” it was kinda case closed from there

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        The idea of someone participating in edgic and actively pretending to be making predictions even though they’ve already been spoiled just makes me sad. Why even? It’s kind of tragic to think about.

        • There is a reason we ask spoiled people to not vote in our polls.

    • andythesaint

      Great points and why I meant it when I said that if this is a way someone enjoys consuming Survivor, then I have no judgement. I think what’s been bothering me and Matt is the smugness* that’s crept into the edgic this season, like they’re all in on a secret that’s SO OBVIOUS. Like, even if they’re right (and I’m willing to concede that they might be), why would you want to approach this season as it’s been presented so far as the season of Michele? That seems to be the least interesting way to do it.

      *I am fully aware of the irony of me being bothered by smugness.

      • Purplerockmatt

        I am upvoting this solely because of your smugness comment

        • Purple Rock Emma

          As am I.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I picked Michele as my pre-season winner and I’d quite like to see it not happen so that these smug fans get proved wrong.

        • Mechanical Shark

          same. also I’m rooting for Aubry now, and will be mad at the editors if she’s tonight’s boot.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’m on board for an Aubry victory, anyone who compares themselves to Sophie is someone I can support.

      • sharculese

        The stuff like BOOM EDGIC VICTORY at the end is so creepy and desperate it deserves to be mocked.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Spoiled Edgic makes no sense to me, it’s like me restarting a season I’ve already watched and picking up on hints of who will win that I’d not noticed the first time round.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I came to Survivor relatively late (Caramoan) so all the seasons I’m catching up on are “spoiled”. It is interesting to watch for signs of an under-the-radar winner’s “winner’s edit”, but man it’s crazy to watch a new season that way.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Yeah I watched a few like that too, already knowing the outcome and it doesn’t necessarily ruin it but it does completely change the viewing experience.

          • I watched a few seasons knowing the winner already. It’s at least interesting to see where the winner succeeds and fails throughout the game.

          • Alkanarra

            It’s also enjoyable watching the non-winners to see their shortcomings as well. And since you don’t always know the precise boot order, there’s generally still some element of suspense. (Unless the winner is the other side of the vote, of course.)

          • Kemper Boyd

            And sometimes knowing a big early character will have a fall.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yeah i watched a whole bunch like that (basically 3 through 18)

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’ve said this before (maybe in reply to you, actually), but Samoa must have been unbearable to watch in real time, but “spoiled” Samoa is great fun.

          • Other Scott

            Well people liked watching Samoa in real time, too. Though I also watched it “spoiled.”

            It’s the anti-Russell sentiment that turns people against Samoa.

            (I’ve watched 20 seasons so far and Samoa is number 2. And the only ones left that really have a shot at displacing it are Micronesia, Philippines, All Stars, and a rewatch of Borneo. I expect Samoa will stay there though.)

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Haven’t seen Micronesia, and I consider Borneo unrankable because it’s just such a different beast. Philippines is top 10 for me (and my very favorite winner) and All-Stars bottom 3, but YMMV if Samoa is your number 2 (but that’s cool, life’s rich tapestry and all that).

          • Purplerockmatt

            This is slightly shameful to admit but Samoa was what got me back into Survivor. watching it in real time was watching someone ignore convention and completely overturn the game, and then lose for reasons i didn’t entirely get that season (but definitely got next season in HvV)

          • sharculese

            Were you the one they brought on to praise Samoa in the season rankings podcasts?

          • Purplerockmatt

            no i did Micronesia, Palau, Pearl Islands and Africa

          • Other Scott

            That was Hornacek.

          • Kemper Boyd

            SJDS is another season which is just better when you know the result because the anticipation of the Drewchebag vote and then Jon, Alec, the Baylor idol blindside really makes it enjoyable.

          • Diego Armando

            It was unbearable. It was the only season I contemplated not watching when it was on.

        • Roswulf

          One thing that I’m loving as someone who came to Survivor EXTREMELY late with Cagayan, is starting to watch old seasons with my partner (we did Cook Islands and Fiji last off-season, I think my plan is to do Pearl islands next). Being steeped in the Survivor online maelstrom, I know the winners and the general arcs- she’s a Survivor fan, but is almost entirely unspoiled.

          It’s really fun for me to compare our reactions…plus my enigmatic reactions to her comments drive her crazy in a most satisfying manner.

          • I did the same with my wife on some re-watches. She’ll go in not knowing the winners, and she’ll make predictions and then try to over-analyze every reaction I make to her predictions. It’s entertaining.

    • Mechanical Shark

      I think Edgic is more useful in ruling out certain winners than determining the actual winner, until 3-4 episodes before the end. And only if you’re pretty strict about using the chart and watching for patterns, rather than calling it based on two episodes, or using extraneous factors/ambiguously toned scenes. When you examine a set of episodes, or an entire storyline, you can draw some (likely correct) conclusions. Like, we know Scot and Jason aren’t winning, right? And we know 90% because of the Alecia storyline. Alecia was, sort of bizarrely, given a hero’s exit, with Jeff saying he was rooting for her even! Scot and Jason could’ve been to some extent protected from negativity, but they weren’t.

  • Mike Hirsch

    There really is an “erudite Edgic snob” personality type out there. It’s kind of hilarious to read the forums, but I read it for entertainment purposes only. They’re basically all Miss Cleo to me. Sure, they’ll get it right occasionally, but it doesn’t make them actually GOOD at what they profess to be good at doing.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Hahaha, that is the exact person that has been infuriating me that led to this post. And god help us if Michele wins then they will really be insufferable

      • Kemper Boyd

        I picked her as my preseason winner pick and I kinda don’t want to be right.

        • I’m in the same boat.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Early on I was nice and smug. But I picked her for all the reasons she’s boring now and I’d rather see Debbie win to be honest.

        • I picked her as my preseason winner pick for The Tribe’s fantasy league, because I had to pick someone and I wasn’t feel hot about any of them. However, she made onto my Pick-4 after Darnell was voted out because Jeff says that she is like Parvati, which I have to think means that she goes fairly far.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah Jeff comparing her to Parv is a huge deal as Parvati is the only acceptable female survivor contestant.

          • sharculese

            He’s just mad that Natalie Anderson can drink him under the table.

          • Kemper Boyd

            And probably beat him in an arm wrestle while still drinking with her other hand.

          • sharculese

            Natalie could probably do that to most of the male winners as well.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I find her terrifying to be honest. In interviews with Rob she is so entertaining but all I can think it “I’m glad she got a minimal edit because she can easily be too much”.

          • He is slowly warming up to Sandra publicly, but that has to be because she is a two-time winner.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Probably. I would eat my socks without taking off my shoe if he ever complimented Sophie as a player.

          • Do I also need to get you a rock?

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        That personality type is insufferable either way. Being right or not really doesn’t enter into it.

      • Mike Hirsch

        I’ve been high on Cydney, partially due to what seems like a fairly good (if subdued) edit to date, but mostly because it would be great for so many Edgic-ers to be wrong.

        • I want Cydney to win partly to diversify the pool of winners.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Boy howdy does it need diversifying.

          • I don’t know what you are talking about…having alpha male winners is what I want to see.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Seasons 23-32: Woman, woman, woman, nerd, oppressed white male, oppressed white male, woman of color (!), oppressed white male, AA male, woman (obviously). What more do you people want?! (/sarcasm)

          • Kemper Boyd

            one of your earlier womans should have been woman of colour, as Sandra is Latina.

          • sharculese

            Past 10 seasons ends at South Pacific.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I redacted. I literally did the maths as soon as I pressed post. It’s been a long day involving plumbers in my house and smashing my knee against a bedframe plus cutting all my fingers trying to unblock my bath drain before said plumber.

          • sharculese

            Yikes. Sorry about your rough day.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah it’s been an expensive mistake. I had to buy a pry bar because my bath panel is now stuck neither in or out of the spot I need it. Tomorrow will be equally fun.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Also she seems like a cool chick.

        • Other Scott

          Cydney’s second choice for them though, so knowing them they’ll take that as a victory as well.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Curses!

      • sharculese

        If there were someone on this season named Michele I would have to say I hope she gets voted out soon because otherwise I’m going to have to give up Dom and Colin for the rest of the season because the thirty minutes of table pounding about her obvious winners edit is just unbearable.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I know, right? Two podcasts enter Thunderdome, one podcast leaves. What’s weird is that I find their argument for Michelle/Michele’s win persuasive and preposterous at the same time.

          • sharculese

            I wouldn’t mind it if they just mentioned that they were still all in her, but I swear like a third of their podcast was about her winners edit this week.

            And then another solid fifteen minutes of Big Brother Canada talk.

          • Alycia Swift

            Ok, as someone who gave up on their podcast just because I had too many to listen to and had to weed out my lesser favorite ones (and their sound quality is not as good as some others), what is their argument? Just curious.

          • 1. Michele
            2. ???
            3. Winner!

          • Alycia Swift

            Funny. Also similar to the arguments used by my clients.

          • Purplerockmatt

            your clients are the underwear gnomes?

          • Alycia Swift

            Oh I only wish.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            1. The editors will use vanilla confessionals from an important character, or entertaining confessionals by an unimportant character, but they won’t use vanilla confessionals from an unimportant character.
            2. Michelle has gotten a disproportionate number of confessionals.
            3. Those confessionals have been mostly vanilla, and she’s been extremely unimportant so far
            4. Therefore–she must be a highly important character the rest of the way. The most “logical” explanation is that she wins in a platable-alternative scenario in an F2 against, say, Jason, and they’re back-filling a narrative for her.

          • Roswulf

            I do think the biggest problem with this theory at the moment is that “2” isn’t really true. After the last episode, Michele is decidedly in the back half of the remaining players in raw number of confessionals.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yeah, I guess that’s true. Maybe a better way to put it (not my opinion, Dom and Colin’s) is that Michelle’s confessionals have been generic except for “I don’t need to be carried, bro”, and she’s manifestly been unimportant. Generic confessionals from an unimportant character require an explanation, and the most likely explanation is that she becomes an important character later in the game. Basically, Dom and Colin are saying that Michele’s invisibility and vanilla-ness are the proof that she’s the winner. Crazy and yet kind of persuasive.

          • Other Scott

            I think the editors are just trying to avoid completely purple characters nowadays. With Julia they knew they’d have faux-exile and the pre-merge vote early on, with Michele they were like “If we don’t give her material no one will know she exists” so they shoehorned some stuff in.

            Plus the “Don’t carry me, bro” confessional was going to be used anyways (unless Nick was winning I guess), so everyone pointing to that as her winner edit…eh.

            (Yes, I’m going out of my way to try and tear down the Michele winner edit. It’s what I’ve been reduced to.)

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yeah, that’s my take too. I think edgic theory assumes much greater intentionality on the part of the editors than really exists. I think they don’t want to purple anybody and they want the most entertaining 42 minutes possible, and that’s about it. As far as the winner goes, I think they want to avoid both a completely out-of-nowhere winner (so they kind of messed up Jenna Morasco’s edit) and a completely obvious winner (so they also messed up Boston Rob 4.0’s edit), but other than those two extremes, I don’t think they want or need to shape the winner’s narrative.

          • sharculese

            I kind of suspect they burned Jenna on purpose, due to a combination of disappointment that Rob lost and not being able to do it to Heidik in Thailand. Jeff literally caps the reading of the votes by expressing his contempt for her.

            It’s just that they didn’t realize how badly that would play with audiences, and have taken pains to not let it happen again.

            obligatory link: http://achewood.com/index.php?date=05122003

          • Diego Armando

            They made Brian look like shit in Thailand.

          • sharculese

            They also made him look completely in control. They made Jenna look like an asshole and they made her look like a useless dope.

          • Diego Armando

            They did not make him look aa dominant you think. Mostly due to the fact that the editors and Probst obviously hated him as much as I did.

          • sharculese

            Who do you think was in charge of that tribe if it wasn’t Heidik? If they were doing their best to bury him, the ‘skating’ confessional wouldn’t have made the air.

            I straight up cannot imagine watching Thailand and not thinking “they’re making it look like this dude is in charge.” What’s your evidence to the contrary?

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I think they somewhat avoid including things that would make the eventual winner look like a complete jerk these days, but they don’t shy away from minor squabbles and dodo behavior.
            For a show that really doesn’t shy away from exposing their winners’ flaws, I recommend Top Chef. They have had some complete jerks for winners and they don’t cover for them at all, which is kind of refreshing.

          • sharculese

            Ah… Hung…

          • sharculese

            Also, for anyone who’s into that as a thing, RuPaul’s Drag Race does it too. The front runner of the current season is colossally smug about how much more talented he is than most of the cast, but they make it work for him.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I love RPDR! Who would you say is the front runner this season? Bob? (I haven’t seen the latest episode btw)

          • sharculese

            Yeah, it’s Bob. He kind of solidified his position between Snatch Game and his runway this week (seriously, it’s a stunning runway look) but he’s also looking a little cocky.

          • Other Scott

            Yeah, I’d love if they did more Amazon seasons where they weren’t afraid to make their winner look horrible at times, but something is telling me that ain’t happening again.

          • Mechanical Shark

            I believe the editors know what they’re doing, but “showing a satisfying winner narrative” is often a secondary concern to entertaining the audience, and telling the overall story (where the winner is an important, but not necessarily THE most important part). Sometimes the entire season is edited around the winner, but just as often it’s centered around an FTC loser or someone picked off right before final 2/3 (*coughRussellcough*).
            People went back and noticed that much of Worlds Apart’s imagery was structured to build to Shirin’s jury speech. People like Mario Lanza have gone back and watched past seasons and found tons of little editing jokes (like almost everything James predicts in Palau being wrong).

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            You’re absolutely right that the winner is not always the central character, with Samoa being the most extreme example. Even last season, the theme of being able to play a different game the second time around turned out to be more about Spencer (as in: Nope, he couldn’t) than Jeremy.

            Vanuatu and Guatemala are also full of people being hilariously wrong either in their predictions or their assessments of the current situation. I wonder if there was one particular editor during that era who delighted in that stuff, or maybe that’s just what you get in an all-newbie season.

          • My big problem was that is they didn’t do much with Julia at faux-exile. That makes me think that she isn’t going far, or else they would have made her more of a “hero”. But, her first tribal council episode was a good one for her.

            We just have to see how Michele is in a TC/scrambling situation. If she’s good, great. If she’s not, that bandwagon is getting emptied soon.

          • Mechanical Shark

            Here’s a better argument – look at the story of the season. There’s three coherent themes I’ve noticed – girl power (which is in part why anyone with any sense is predicting a female winner), surviving the elements, and emotional intelligence. The problem for Michele is that she fits the first, sort of fits the last, but has had a pretty easy ride in terms of the second. Aubry, by contrast, brings together all the themes of the season in one narrative. Her first episode is all about struggling with the elements, and then coming back to basically win the challenge for her tribe. She herself brought up the concept of emotional intelligence in the Liz boot episode.

          • sharculese

            It’s really not even more intricate than – why is she getting so many confessionals if she’s not the winner?

        • Other Scott

          Why are Dom and Colin spending 30 minutes pounding the table for a contestant that doesn’t exist is my question.

          So that’s the podcast Andy was subtweeting on twitter. Good to know.

          • andythesaint

            Actually, that specific instance was brought on by the Wiggle Room, when they talked about Nick’s chances. But heavily influenced by Dom & Colin’s constant hyping of Michele (which I only experience via Twitter, since I don’t listen to their show. To be clear, I like those guys, I just don’t listen to many other shows since, and I don’t know if anyone has ever noticed this, I tend to get worked up about other people’s opinions). They literally had a poll asking who was the winner this season: Michele or the field.

          • sharculese

            And after the field won and he had that most of the people picking the field were really picking Aubry, Colin still insisted this was proof that Michele was the winner.

            I actually think they get a lot of things wrong, but I listen to them because they have a fun banter.

          • andythesaint

            Like I said, I like those guys. They’re probably our closest comparison from all the different Survivor podcasts. But I try not to absorb too many opinions from elsewhere because it’s difficult to have your own.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Wow, that’s really interesting about avoiding too much exposure to other opinion. That’s part of Dom and Colin’s act, I think–that they record late enough in the cycle that they spend part of their time reacting/pushing back on opinions expressed in other podcasts.

            I know you literally just said you don’t want to do this, but you should at least sample Snakes Rats Goats–I think they’re also in the same mold as PR and DC.

          • andythesaint

            I’m still bitter about Snakes and Rats beating The Purple Rock on our own site’s voting.

            These hoes ain’t loyal.

          • Alycia Swift

            Voting for what – I must have missed this.

          • sharculese

            I think he’s talking about the tribal council bracket, where the Borneo FTC beat out the Marquesas final 4.

          • andythesaint

            The Ultimate Tribal Council tournament.

          • Alycia Swift

            I love Snakes Rats and Goats. I love when they have someone on that has never seen Survivor before.

      • Mechanical Shark

        Michele was my pre-season winner pick, but I don’t want it to be right now, because as much as the bragging rights would be nice, it’d come off as a resounding victory for Edgic, due to the circumstances. Finally being able to call a relatively UTR female winner in advance would be a huge feather in their collective cap, and they wouldn’t let anyone forget it.

    • Mechanical Shark

      Like the brigade of weirdos that are utterly convinced Julia is the winner, and insist with pretty much no solid evidence that only they are reading the edit correctly, and everyone else is totally wrong.
      ugh.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Yes! And, obviously time will tell on that one, but ultimately the Julia edit is what confounds me the most about edgic in a nutshell: you have the pro-Julia group claiming the scene of her all alone, unable to make fire, and talking about how being apart from everyone makes her paranoid, and that she’s only 18 was absolutely brilliant for her, but then you have the anti-Julia group (or more, not-pro-Julia group, really) taking the exact same scene and saying it is a horrible scene for her. So…who’s right? It can’t be both.

        Also, from my perspective, I’ve been calling her “Who-lia?” so I’m certainly not expecting huge strides from her late in the game.

  • Roswulf

    As someone who has never gotten seriously into Edgic, there’s one practical issue I’m not following. How do they go from the episodic graphs to the list of contenders? Is there an established formula I’m missing? Or is it another round of subjective judgement, a straight winner prediction theoretically “informed” by the graph?

    I’m especially curious about how this interacts with Michele. At least using Inside Survivor, her Edgic history isn’t exactly striking. I’m actually not following the strong “Edgic” case for Michele, beyond the obvious “she’s not portrayed as loathesome, hasn’t been conspicuously invisible, and we’re assuming someone who isn’t Tai will win”.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Yeah so this is a little complicated and I am not sure I fully understand it, but basically I think most people are saying it is based on the placement of her confessionals. She isn’t very visible but when she is are in very prominent places, so the show is reminding us not to forget her because she is very important.

      For most winners however, the show tries to find a sweet spot. The best thing for a winner is a CP (complex personality) usually. think about people talking about their families, like Jeremy and pregnant Val, or Natalie and surviving without Nadiya. But I don’t think we have gotten a lot of CPs this season, and if anything I think they are on Jason (ugh) and Tai.

      So yeah you want to be a CP, you don’t want to be invisible, but you also don’t want to be too over the top. A little negative is ok, but you want to be largely positive.

      • Roswulf

        So…the Michele hype is not from a straight reading of the Edgic output itself (which at least as strongly points towards Tai or Aubrey, at least using data I can access right now) but from non-Edgic edit tea reading like “confessional placement” and game logic?

        • Purplerockmatt

          well that is part of edgic though. but i think it’s mostly game logic, not a lot of people fit the traditional winner this season, but michele has some prominent spots, so…

      • Prom King

        Two days late to this but I just read the article (which is great)… but CP is actually not just talking about personal lives. OTT can talk about personal lives as well. CP can include that, but it should mainly spotlight the player as a sympathetic central character, and maybe most importantly, show them intelligently discussing their strategy and options. So in tonight’s episode, Jason and Scot could earn CPs because of their sympathetic family stories, maaaaybe, but Aubry and Cydney are even more CP because their edit focused on both emotional and strategic content.

    • Other Scott

      Okay, so this is probably where Edgic falls apart a little for me. They make the pretty chart, and then mostly ignore it and go by feel for their winner pick.

      • Mechanical Shark

        Exactly! I think the winner prediction chart should just be done away with completely, or it shouldn’t even start until around episode 4 or 5.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I think you’re absolutely right that the gap between the weekly charts and the list of possible winner contenders is where the “mystery ingredient” of subjectivity really comes in.
      I also think that another potentially fatal flaw of edgic is that it presumes to know ~why~ certain scenes and confessionals were shown, when in reality we as viewers often have no way of knowing what material the editors had to work with and what other factors might be guiding their decisions. For example, take the pre-swap episodes of Kaoh Rong. We had the ongoing story line of the Michele-Anna-Julia alliance which was mostly narrated by Michele and Anna, if I recall. Was Julia downplayed because she is ultimately inconsequential to the season, or because her confessionals weren’t as interesting or coherent or cleavage-y as the other two? Secret scenes can offer some insight after the fact, but quite a bit of what ends up on the cutting room floor will never be known to the viewers.

  • Diego Armando

    My question is why doesn’t Tai have the highest Edgic rating? He is one of the most visible players, he is in a majority alliance with an idol and all of his confessionals have been positive.

    • Purplerockmatt

      that I can explain. Most edgics consider Over the Top players (or OTT) to not be viable winners. These are the players survivor wants you to like and remember besides the winner. But I am not sure I would consider Tai OTT, and I think this is where personal evaluation comes into the mix.

      • Alycia Swift

        The first couple of episodes, he was OTT, but that has tempered quite a bit.

        • Purplerockmatt

          agreed completely, in fact I don’t even think he was that OTT to begin with

      • Diego Armando

        I guess that makes a tiny bit of sense, but to me it feels like if you were watching Worlds Apart and thought “That Mike guy has no shot, Sierra is 100% winning.”

      • Mechanical Shark

        He hasn’t been recently, but his first few episodes were for sure. but his fading into the background a bit is actually why people are generally putting him in 4th or even 3rd, and saying he’s probably the only male that could win now.

    • Alkanarra

      Because they’re spoiled. Their conclusions aren’t drawn from evidence within the episode, and — even if some of them *aren’t* spoiled — it’s not evidence when it’s so strongly subjective. They’re also informed by past seasons where people like Tai haven’t won, which clouds their ability to accept that he even *can* be a winner.

      You can’t have a mathematical system for assessing a situation when you don’t actually use math at any point.

      • Purplerockmatt

        The past season thing I agree about. It’s why they missed Tony. But it is also because they are always looking for a repeat of the same stories, so a new one isn’t adjusted for

  • Alkanarra

    If we can go ahead and never mention Sucks again, that’d be swell. Thanks in advance!

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    I think the basic reasoning behind edgic is sound. They have three days of footage multiplied by the number of cameras being used with which to craft a 42-minute episode. What we see isn’t random, it’s what the editors decide to show us. In addition, the editors know the boot order, who made final tribal, and almost certainly who the winner is. Here’s a thought experiment that should illustrate how that knowledge affects the edit: how radically different would Cagayan have been edited if Woo had taken Kass to the end?

    The edit is therefore going to contain clues as to who the winner is, which is particularly relevant in seasons where the winner isn’t obvious early on. I watched both Amazon and Samoa for the first time relatively recently, and it’s clear the editors learned from experience that you have to provide a “winner’s edit”, even if you have to gin one up, if an attention-hogging near-winner is overshadowing the real winner (Jenna had no winner’s edit whatsoever until the finale, while Natalie W has a winner’s edit throughout the season, although it’s still pretty subtle; BTW yes I feel terrible comparing Rob C. to Russell, I’m only saying that they presented the editors with similar problems).

    Now that said, edgic in actual practice is… not good. I think edgic-ers run into trouble because they think their tool is a scalpel when it’s really an axe. A ruler is useful for measuring, but not for measuring microns. Also, not every single second is about the winner. You show Keith Nale driving around in a tuk-tuk not because winner’s edit!!!1!!1!, but because Keith Nale is TV gold.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Also, Matt, thank you for pointing out something that I think a lot of the edgic-ers miss: this show evolves. The editors probably have certain guidelines, but they aren’t under any obligation to show the exact same story every season. It makes edgic seem a bit like a “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” sort of deal: “because this, therefore winner” works as a very general guideline, I suppose, but the editors will always have to work with what these people are giving them, so we’re going to have some pretty glaring exceptions.

    And while I’m posting, I went back and looked at the Second Chance edgic, and apparently Kelley Wentworth’s early confessional where she kicked at the sand to mimic kicking Terry under the bus was definitive proof that she wouldn’t win the season. Similarly, they’re saying that Aubry calling Neal a son of a bitch for leaving the game with an idol is proof she won’t win. Because, apparently, we as the audience are supposed to find that uncouth or something. Conduct unbecoming a winner, let’s say. But, in both cases, it makes me like them more, because that is EXACTLY what I’d be saying or doing in each of these scenarios. I guess I’m just not winner material.

    • sharculese

      Hoooow do you not love the ‘get under the bus’ confessional?

      • Other Scott

        I don’t love the “get under the bus” confessional. It just felt like it was playing too hard to the cameras and didn’t develop organically. Mostly in the delivery.

        That compared to Scot’s confessional about crossing names out and rewriting them, which was also playing to the cameras, but just felt more natural.

        I acknowledge there may be some implicit sexism there.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Right?? That was awesome!

    • Roswulf

      I feel like the biggest problem with this sort of analysis is that when you pick out anything as definitive proof that a player will lose, there’s a 92-95% chance that you will in the end feel vindicated and brilliant.

      And it’s so easy to dismiss that rare case when you are wrong (Tony being Tony, Mike chugging poison on Day One) as an aberration rather than evidence that your methodology is flawed.

      • sharculese

        Mike eating the scorpion was obvious evidence that he was losing right up until he was obviously winning, at which point it magically became a humanizing moment.

        • I did not follow edgic during Worlds Apart, but I know that Mike had a really similar edit to Aubry. Both came off really weak and first boot-y to their tribes, yet completely redeemed themselves in the challenge.

          • Alycia Swift

            I don’t really think he and Aubry are edited alike other than being underdogs. Mike physically was the strongest competitor in his tribe hands down even when there were three tribes. He was also more proactive than Aubry is. He said some stupid stuff early on – something about knowing women (like we are all alike) but compared to the comments and actions of most of the rest of the guys was harmless. He was more about loyalty and failed to see until later on that Rodney was set on betraying the blue collar alliance, taking some of the blue collars with him, and when he did, that’s when he screwed up his game at the auction and later back at camp for good and had to rely on challenge prowess. I never thought Mike would be the first boot unless the scorpion took him out. I always got the impression it would be Dan because Rodney and the two younger girls bonded and Mike was the stronger/younger guy. If not Dan, then Lindsay. Aubry is well liked and suprisingly good at challenges but not a beast at challenges and we are not yet showing her to be proactive although she has a better read on what is going on.

          • Okay…I am quickly realizing that I did not put much thought into my comparison. I guess I was thinking about the first episode, but even then, Mike is one of the two “leaders” of Blue Collar while Aubry is the weak link.

          • Alycia Swift

            I think that was the longest post I have ever posted on any site.

          • No worries. It was very persuasive!

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      And yet eating a scorpion and getting sick, getting into ridiculous fights about firewood, ineptly throwing a challenge, and throwing everybody under the bus at auction and then walking it back are not edgic disqualifies if you’re Mike Holloway. I wonder what he has that Wentworth and Aubry don’t have. Hmmm… I wonder…

      • Roswulf

        This is where I’m confused about the nature of Edgic analysis- isn’t the whole point using a systemic categorization of episode-by-episode edit data to avoid having to derive predictions from ad hoc interpretation of specific incidents?

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I think that’s one of Matt’s main criticisms–that’s it’s a veneer of objectivity that falls apart because the inputs are subjective to begin with.

          • Roswulf

            It’s the two step process that has my confuzzled. Matt’s article effectively critiques how the creation of the Edgic tags for each player-episode are not neutral, but shaped by bias and (especially) spoilers. That’s the problem of subjective inputs.

            But on top of that, I’m not clear that Edgic practitioners ARE using Edgic tags as the ingredients in their ultimate predictive analysis. Because, at least based on the Edgic graphs in this article and on Inside Survivor, an incident like Wentworth kicking the sand and dissing Savage doesn’t register as a devastating hit to her winner chances. In a “true” Edgic analysis (going primarily off of Inside Survivor’s very good write-up), that shouldn’t be an input at all, except insofar as it is translated into tags.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’m not sure how you get from the tags to the contenders bracket either. I think the point is that even if you were to somehow get the tags “correct” in some completely objective manner, you’ll still only get a fancy graph that won’t help you any more than just an informed judgement would. Yes, edgic would have quickly steered you away from Monica winning Cambodia (remember, she was a popular pre-season pick because an under-the-radar woman won the other two all-returnee seasons), but you don’t need edgic for that.

          • Roswulf

            I’m actually not sure about that. To take the current season, watching it raw it is not immediately obvious to me that Michele has been getting more boring confessionals than Julia. They both seem absent and uninteresting. I think Edgic illustrates well why Michele is a viable winner possibility, and Julia is not (I really hope Julia wins so this post looks foolish).

            Now, admittedly there’s limited predictive value here that can’t be found from ad hoc observation combined with a raw confessionals count. But I have no problem with a theory that the tags can cut through some level of bias if properly used as a source of reasoning- a mechanism for limiting (if not eliminating) our natural tendency to focus on the memorable moments as opposed to the editing spackle. But to apply that theory, you actually have to USE the tags.

          • Other Scott

            Precisely. The tags are barely related to the actual pick.

            I’d be interested in a stats based Edgic where they gave each player a rating based on the tag each episode based on past performances of winners in that particular episode (eg relating current episode 2 to past winner episode 2). There’s not enough sample yet to do it well, but I’d be interested to see how it looked.

      • Mike Hirsch

        A gravelly voice? Hmm, no wait…

      • Diego Armando

        But the editors gave him a heroic quote for throwing the challenge and they hate it when people throw challenges.

    • See, I kinda realized fairly early on that Wentworth wasn’t going to win because all of her content was about the idol, but I hoped against hope.

      I have more hope in Aubry because they made such an investment in showing how great she is in challenges.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Ditto.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I hate to be the one defending edgic, but just to keep the conversation on point: It’s not whether you would do the same thing on the island, or whether we the viewers find it uncouth, but whether the editors would choose to show that on TV if they knew you won or made final tribal.

      Those specific examples, BTW, are ridiculous mis-applications of edgic.

      • Mike Hirsch

        See, what you’re saying makes a lot more sense to me. Because why wouldn’t they show those two moments for a winner?

    • andythesaint

      Hey remember that time that Boston Rob very rudely taunted all his competitor by cockily throwing an idol clue into a volcano? That’s when we knew he could never win Redemption Island.

      Remember when Sandra made fun of basically everyone? That’s when she knew she couldn’t win [insert season here].

      BOOM edgic.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Exactly! Or hey, remember when Sophie chewed out Albert in the middle of a challenge involving her mad cardhouse-building skills? (If not, that’s ok, South Pacific was not worth remembering.)

        • sharculese

          I remember all things Sophie did, sir.

        • andythesaint

          Remember when Tony laughed about swearing on his badge?

          • sharculese

            Or made fun of Spencer for playing his idol wrong.

            Tyson mocking Katie on her way out. Parvati aggressively shunning Eliza. This game can go on literally all day.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Remember when Tony called Kass a llama?

          • Alycia Swift

            Remember when Spencer said she had zero chance of winning because she flipped?

            And then proceeded to do the same thing himself the next season.

  • sharculese

    Okay, as someone didn’t watch Micronesia live, was “Eliza winner’s edit” a for real thing?

    • Purplerockmatt

      apparently!

    • Purplerockmatt

      to be fair before penner’s exit but after the swap she and penner looked to be in fantastic shape and were building a convincing anti-parv coalition

      • andythesaint

        But instead a completely random event swung the game in Parvati’s favor, making her the greatest ever! I mean, look at the quality of competition she faced post-merge.

        • Diego Armando

          She gets my vote for luckiest winner ever. Two people were medevac end, 2 asked to be voted out, one quit, two people were blindsided holding idols, one guy gave up immunity, one fan showed no objections whatsoever to fourth place, there was a surprise final three, and her opponent bombed the final tribal. Other than those incidences, it was pure skill.

          • andythesaint

            You might enjoy a rant I have planned coming up.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            It kind of spoils the magic when you tell us you plan them out.

          • andythesaint

            Oh, this one will be written. The podcast ones are generally more organic, often brought on by me trying to get all my thoughts out before John cuts me off to move on to another topic.

          • The ones on the podcast aren’t planned. And a lot of them end up getting edited out, particularly when we go off on a political rant.

  • Purple Rock Emma

    That’s my Hookers! Good job, boo.

  • sharculese

    A note on the subjectivity of confessionals and related things – the kid I told you about last week who is really into this season – he loves him some Scot and Kyle. He agrees that they’re not being set up as winners (moreso Kyle than Scot) but he’s an athletic 17-year-old, and that kind of locker room behavior is hilarious to him.

    • sharculese

      He also really likes Spencer now (last I saw him he was up to the Morgan boot on his Cagayan watch) so he’s good people.

  • andythesaint

    For me, the argument for the legitimacy of edgic pretty much falls apart with Cagayan. That they not only couldn’t pick out Tony as the winner, but more than that were suggesting that their “data” wouldn’t allow for the possibility means that the whole thing is flawed. Because that was not a guy hidden in the edit. He was just doing things that that particular brand of Survivor fan didn’t see as “winner”. Because of their obvious bias.

    I say this as the guy who gave him zero percent chance of winning after the first night. No one had more motivation for bias than me. But I watched the show. I kept my mind open. And I saw very early on that I was very, very wrong.

    I’m not impressed by any system that correctly predicts Rob, Kim, Tyson, Cochran, Mike, and Jeremy as winners, largely because I was equally able to do so without it. As were most everyone. But completely screwing up Tony? That’s pretty damning.

    • Mechanical Shark

      When I found out people were predicting Woo to win in the end stretch of Cagayan, that’s when I stopped taking Edgic as gospel. It’s fun, but it should evolve with the times more than it does, and people should try harder to leave their assumptions behind.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    You know what, after avoiding work all morning participating in this comment thread, I had a (very tiny) epiphany. This whole hunt for the winner’s edit is the Survivor equivalent of Hitchcock’s MacGuffin. Hitchcock believed that if he’s doing his job right, his characters will be intensely interested in the MacGuffin, but the audience won’t give a rat’s ass about it. I feel like we Survivor nerds (and I think I’m safe calling everybody commenting within several hours of a post going up on a blog about a podcast about Survivor five days after the most recent episode aired “Survivor nerds”) are watching North by Northwest obsessing about who’s got the microfilm rather than thrilling at the sight of Cary Grant getting chased by a crop-duster. If Aubry wins, awesome. If Michele/Michelle wins, fine. If Debbie or Tai wins with an epic Keyser Soze FTC speech, even more awesome. If Joe turns into a puppet master or Jason turns into a sweet talker, we’ll have a ton to discuss in the off-season.

    • Alycia Swift

      Never saw that movie but I’m ok being called a Survivor nerd.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I agree completely. For me the entire first watch through of a season usually becomes all about outcomes (who will win, who will be voted out each episode, who will align, etc.) which causes a lot of the nuances and sheer entertainment value of the show to be lost. But I’m a habitual rewatcher, so once the season ends I usually take a few months off, and then rewatch it with an open mind. The rewatch is usually when I form my true opinion of a season.

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    Great article!
    I started reading the Inside Survivor Edgic posts sometime last season just for fun, and I still think there is some entertainment value for me. I tend to toggle between grasping at straws to try and predict the outcome of a season (stressful) and just rooting for who I like (also stressful at times). I don’t think edgic is particularly scientific or objective by any stretch of the imagination. The part I like about Redmond’s take is that he summarizes the ongoing themes of a season and discusses how different characters interact with those themes. I’m not sure if that’s part of how Survivor Sucks does edgic (I believe he gets each player’s weekly rating based on the aggregate opinion on Sucks?) but I would be more interested in opening up that kind of discussion rather than trying to “read the edit” to predict the boot order or the eventual winner.

    • I agree, Redmond’s edgic is usually much more about story themes. It’s more like a book club exploring literary themes than looking for tiny signs that point to a winner.

  • corndogshuffle

    A lot has already been said about this topic, but to me edgic seems a lot like NCAA Tournament bracketology – both can be fun to read through and usually hit on really obvious stuff, but fairly useless if you are looking for tremendous insight. Calling Boston Rob as the winner in RI is like predicting the 34-0 2015 Kentucky Wildcats would make the NCAA Tournament. A valid observation, just not one that required any mental energy.

    Of course this is all assuming an unspoiled edgic (which I’m fairly certain is what Inside Survivor does?)… you couldn’t pay me enough to visit Sucks with all those spoilers.

    • sharculese

      Spoiled edgic is like so far down the list of reasons you couldn’t pay me to visit Sucks.

      • corndogshuffle

        Spoilers in general is really what I meant… I agree about the edgic though. (edited the OP to reflect what I meant more closely)

  • Jim

    Edgic will never be 100% right. It can’t be. Any prediction making thing is highly unlikely to be totally accurate. Edgic makers learn from oddities, such as Tony and Mike, they can see similar edits in the future. Edgic (in non spoiled seasons), has acptally been quite accurate, compared to one person just picking. You seem to expect it to be right at all times, and you expect it to never change, and predict unexpected, never seen before edits, like Tony. His edit was incomparable to anything ever seen before, for a winner. Sure, it might get blindsided from time to time, but it’s still very good for predicting the unknown.

  • ES

    Why aren’t any of the official charts being used?