An enigma wrapped in underscores July 9, 2007 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Seriously, though. What was this all about?
posted by Dr-Baa to MetaFilter-Related at 10:51 AM (132 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I was curious on how all the links were tied together, but the thread was deleted (for obvious reasons). Any thoughts?
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:52 AM on July 9, 2007


TITTIES!
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:55 AM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling that post was edited for content.
posted by dersins at 11:09 AM on July 9, 2007


PAPA NOVEMBER ECHO XRAY

3-9-9-0
1-8-4-3
2-6-3-2

Ostrich is go.
posted by boo_radley at 11:11 AM on July 9, 2007


A warped barrel is a fool's frustration.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:15 AM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Naggers.
posted by dios at 11:16 AM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


It has to be Hangman, but I don't get any of the clues.
posted by beagle at 11:22 AM on July 9, 2007


I can't drive 55. 54, sure, but 55...no way.
posted by Kwine at 11:26 AM on July 9, 2007


beagle: "It has to be Hangman, but I don't get any of the clues."

This was said in the thread, too. How is it hangman if there are clues? By hangman, do you just mean "each blank represents a letter"? Would that make scrabble hangman?
posted by Plutor at 11:31 AM on July 9, 2007


It was a dashing post, really. I was sorry to see it go.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:33 AM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hmmm. Maybe the answer was P-E-O-P-L-E...?

OMIGOD! Everybody log off NOW! Metafilter... it's... it's a cookbook!
posted by miss lynnster at 11:35 AM on July 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


OMIGOD! Everybody log off NOW! Metafilter... it's... it's a cookbook!

Shush, you! I'm trolling for my dinner.
posted by loquacious at 11:59 AM on July 9, 2007


Third clue easiest.
Fourth would be easier if I'd put Sherman 1-UP!
Ran it by some people to make sure it was gettable. It was.
posted by nthdegx at 12:24 PM on July 9, 2007


The "-M +R Buzz" clue presumably refers to Rona Lisa Peretti, a character in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." So maybe the last letter is "B"?
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 12:25 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Shush, you! I'm trolling

So what's new?

[NOT LOQUACIOUSIST]
posted by slogger at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2007


$20 paypal if anyone does crack it.
posted by nthdegx at 12:32 PM on July 9, 2007


I have the second, and think I have the first, but really...third clue easiest?! Hmmm.
posted by misha at 12:41 PM on July 9, 2007


another ill conceived and capricious deletion. Thanks Dr-Baa for bringing this post to my attention.
posted by caddis at 12:45 PM on July 9, 2007


I bet it was a viral ad for a ski resort.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:05 PM on July 9, 2007 [5 favorites]


You can tell which are the quality front page posts on metafilter, caddis. They're the ones that get deleted.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:09 PM on July 9, 2007


Clue 4 -- "Fast 1-UP" ???
posted by inigo2 at 1:17 PM on July 9, 2007


ill conceived and capricious deletion? For a bunch of damn underscores? I can't think of a more appropriate post for the "noise" flag.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:19 PM on July 9, 2007


Oh wait, I just saw the clue above. Oops.
posted by inigo2 at 1:22 PM on July 9, 2007


You can tell which are the quality front page posts on metafilter, caddis. They're the ones that get deleted.

Um.
posted by dersins at 1:22 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


another ill conceived and capricious deletion post.

FTFY.

Ran it by some people to make sure it was gettable. It was.

You do not appear to understand what MetaFilter is for.
posted by languagehat at 1:33 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Clearly :)
posted by nthdegx at 1:37 PM on July 9, 2007


MetaFilter is for LOLCATS. MetaFilter is against LOLXTIANS!
MetaFilter is for iPods. MetaFilter is against pod people.
MetaFilter is for liberalism. MetaFilter is against liberals.
MetaFilter is for ever. MetaFilter is against the wall.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:41 PM on July 9, 2007 [5 favorites]


It was about blanks. Duh.
posted by hangashore at 1:47 PM on July 9, 2007


Your little puzzlement is hurting my brain, nthdegx.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:48 PM on July 9, 2007


I N C D B.
N U C D B?
D B S A B-Z B.
posted by stopgap at 1:51 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I, for one, like it. I just wish it wasn't so fucking hard.
posted by Plutor at 1:55 PM on July 9, 2007


On this day in history...
posted by nthdegx at 1:55 PM on July 9, 2007


Also, I love hate how someone always makes that stupid joke.
posted by Plutor at 1:56 PM on July 9, 2007


Prize be damned, I'm sharing my thoughts so far and then forgetting about this for the rest of the day:

1. Probably a vowel because there are none in the Can Puzzle.
2. Tintin is saved by an eclipse. O or C?
3. On this date in history [on preview, confirmed by nthdegx]; click on history tab (9 July 2006), middle initial of author is Z: Z
4. Sherman and Bystrokhodny are tanks. 1 line above "tanks" is "syzygy": Y, to fit the place in the puzzle? Syzygy has lots of other meanings on its own.
5. Gemini/Twins: 2?
6. Following L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg above: B

I-C-Z-Y-2-B / I see the way to be ??
posted by stopgap at 2:04 PM on July 9, 2007


Syzygy
posted by team lowkey at 2:09 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's your paypal address, team lowkey?
posted by nthdegx at 2:11 PM on July 9, 2007


And stopgap, too, to be fair.
posted by nthdegx at 2:13 PM on July 9, 2007


I don't have paypal, but don't sweat it. It was fun to solve. And I see now that stopgap almost got it a few minutes before me anyway. It was the tank clue that gave it away.
posted by team lowkey at 2:14 PM on July 9, 2007


Somebody call me?
posted by syzygy at 2:14 PM on July 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


I am thinking similarly, except:

1. Each can has the y, "but this one is not in the can" =Y
2. Eclipse=E?
3. Makes sense; I had the beginning but didn't get the Z from the clue.=Z
4. Tanks 1-up is Syxygy. I was thinking it would be the S that starts "Syxygy." However, could be the y as that is the fourth letter in the puzzle. =S or =Y
5. Gemini. Apt Description: Twins. 2?
6. Yes, B for sure.

why easy (ez) s? y? to be
posted by misha at 2:16 PM on July 9, 2007


You do not appear to understand what MetaFilter is for.

I disagree, darling. (And with the deletion, sorry cortex darling.) I knew it was a puzzle the moment I clapped eyes on it and we've definitely had similar cypher-like posts before that have survived (pretagging, I think, or I'd link). We used to be able to handle these little eccentric moments. Please, give oddball posts like these a chance, even if the flaggers flag. There've been way too many bad welcome-to-my-favorite-memory-from-the-70s-and-80s YouTube posts and outdated articles and weakly presented hot-button controversy on the front page lately; I personally think posts like this help to balance all of it out.

I really want to say something inspiring about keeping metafilter safe for nerds but it's silly to say that to you two. And I say that in solidarity, and with love.
posted by melissa may at 2:16 PM on July 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Wait, I don't get it. How is the answer to one of the blanks the answer to the whole puzzle?
posted by stopgap at 2:16 PM on July 9, 2007


All the clues refer to that word.
posted by team lowkey at 2:17 PM on July 9, 2007


Bleah. Good job, stopgap and team lowkey! You guys rock!

I talked myself out of the first vowel. : (
posted by misha at 2:18 PM on July 9, 2007


I don't get how the Tin Tin clue works with that word?
posted by misha at 2:20 PM on July 9, 2007


Ah, I see it now. I should have paid more attention to the spelling bee mention in the Wikipedia article on syzygy. I was thinking too literally on the others.
posted by stopgap at 2:21 PM on July 9, 2007


Tintin's salvation in that story is an eclipse. Syzygy is an alignment of celestial bodies.
posted by team lowkey at 2:22 PM on July 9, 2007


And I mean literally literally; as in "of or pertaining to the letters of the alphabet."
posted by stopgap at 2:23 PM on July 9, 2007


The answer to *all* the blanks is the answer to the puzzle, you were on the right lines with pretty much all of them, stopgap - it's just that the object wasn't necessarily to arrive at individual letters. Hope you're not too frustrated!
posted by nthdegx at 2:23 PM on July 9, 2007


Oh! Duh. Thanks!
posted by misha at 2:23 PM on July 9, 2007


On this day in history...
posted by nthdegx at 4:55 PM on July 9 [+] [!]


2002 - President Bush called for doubling prison terms and aggressive policing to combat fraud and corruption in corporate America.
posted by bluedaniel at 2:31 PM on July 9, 2007


If I remember my morse code correctly, the solution to this puzzle is AAAAA.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:36 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


...better do some work now, I suppose.
posted by nthdegx at 2:37 PM on July 9, 2007


there was a time when these sorts of things were supremely popular, engaging the membership and begetting hundreds of comments. that was a time before cortex joined the fun police.
posted by quonsar at 2:39 PM on July 9, 2007


I desperately dislike fun, is the main thing. Which is why the big pile of flags and fair share of complaints in the thread about the thread were just convenient excuses.

Next up: taking away puppies.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on July 9, 2007



Next up: taking away puppies.


Not til I'm done kicking them dadgumit!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:14 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


On this day in history...
posted by nthdegx at 4:55 PM on July 9 [+] [!]


Today is also National Goat Mother's Day, a day for all goats to honor their mothers.

I find this rather, well... odd.
posted by bluedaniel at 3:15 PM on July 9, 2007


To be fair, cortex, not many of the comments in the thread are explicit complaints. Flags I can't comment on. But it's cool. This isn't a "why was this post deleted" thread and you don't see me complaining.
posted by nthdegx at 3:17 PM on July 9, 2007


Just because something gets flagged doesn't mean that it's necessarily bad. You may be just catering to the knee-jerks.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:20 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't usually have the patience for them, but I like the idea of (the occasional) puzzle-post. The amount of time spent around here arguing about good/bad posts suggests a recognition that the juxtaposition of links, phrasing of context, and engagement of the reader are important; in short, that a well-constructed post can be a tiny little artwork or performance.

How is a well done puzzle-post not in keeping with that sentiment?

I appreciate that lots of folks flagged it but a) there's a tremendous sample bias there and b) lots of people would vastly prefer USA Today to the New York Review of Books. I've always felt Metafilter was closer to the latter than the former, and that some of that was frankly due to *not* being ruled by the masses.
posted by freebird at 3:21 PM on July 9, 2007


That said, I do hate "blind" posts with no indication where they go or why. Would the post have been deleted if the tags or post somehow indicated that it was a puzzle rather than a confusing unfunny joke?
posted by freebird at 3:24 PM on July 9, 2007


I hear you, nthdegx. I don't think it would have been terrible policy to let it stand either, so no real ill will intended from this end. I'm certainly upset about the metatalk thread followthrough, and the collective discussion here might help recalibrate my meters some.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:28 PM on July 9, 2007


It was tagged puzzle, freebird. Tags get stripped upon deletion.
posted by nthdegx at 3:28 PM on July 9, 2007


"No no real ill will intended from this end"

None taken, cortex. I like you, I really do. It's just that I like you a bit less now ;)
posted by nthdegx at 3:30 PM on July 9, 2007


Ahhh ... It was simpler than I thought. Just syzygy. I noticed it was a possible solution to more than one link, but I kept hunting for something more complicated.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:36 PM on July 9, 2007


Shoot, Plutor, I didn't see you'd linked to your previous post (and it's a nice one, too). A cypher tag search yielded nothing in the archives -- I should have also used cipher. Some puzzle queen I am.

quonsar (tetchy darling), before I even read what cortex wrote, I thought about it and was about to write that the problem ultimately is with us -- people see something they don't immediately understand, rush to flag it, and the admins respond the best they can. Given how huge the membership has got, there are a lot of fires to deal with at any given time. I don't envy them.

Flagging is strange. I'd just about given up on doing it to posts I think are anything less than outright abuse because I imagine it gets pretty noisy backstage. But perhaps if I flagged posts like these as fantastic and bad posts as noise it would help. But then one person's fantastic is another person's noise, I guess, which brings us back to where we started, but with the bonus of hurt feelings that I have an awful sense that I unwittingly contributed to. (Or in other words, a metatalk thread.)
posted by melissa may at 3:40 PM on July 9, 2007


I'm certainly upset about the metatalk thread followthrough

Gah! I'm certainly not upset. Man, that really changes the whole tenor of that sentence.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:48 PM on July 9, 2007


It was a better thread than the LOLMetal thread, even though that was was popular.
posted by theora55 at 4:02 PM on July 9, 2007


we've definitely had similar cypher-like posts before that have survived

And I didn't like them either. But I still love you madly!
posted by languagehat at 4:21 PM on July 9, 2007


Just because something gets flagged doesn't mean that it's necessarily bad. You may be just catering to the knee-jerks.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:20 PM on July 9 [+] [!]


exactly

Lot's of people just flag the unfamiliar, like little kids expressing their disgust at an unfamiliar green vegetable. Sometimes when you try the green eggs and ham it tastes great. Others, well, I think they were just overwhelmed by the puzzle, although it's not like I was going to solve it, but I still enjoyed the challenge.
posted by caddis at 4:27 PM on July 9, 2007




There've been way too many bad welcome-to-my-favorite-memory-from-the-70s-and-80s YouTube posts and outdated articles and weakly presented hot-button controversy on the front page lately; I personally think posts like this help to balance all of it out.

I don't believe in favoriting just to agree with something, so this is how I do it. Seriously, people. Embrace the weirdness a little. The stuff that doesn't make sense at first glance. This is how you foster actual interesting developments. What, do you want this place to be more overrun with consumer shitheads than it already is?

Also, what quonsar said.
posted by furiousthought at 4:29 PM on July 9, 2007


Good gravy cortex, more like it changes that sentence from a sprightly tenor to a basso profundo with a dodgy knee. You made me feel pointless contrition. Do you know how many denominations of clergy and various officials have tried and failed before you? And you did it by accident. Oh, but that hurts.

Thanks, languagehat. I love you too, you damn grumpus.
posted by melissa may at 4:33 PM on July 9, 2007


It's the hybrid Jewish/Catholic upbringing, baby. I ooze guilt.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:36 PM on July 9, 2007


Wait, I'm confused about the movie. So the cops knew that internal affairs were setting them up?

And what languagehat said. Except for the "love" part.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:43 PM on July 9, 2007


It was a better thread than the LOLMetal thread, even though that was was popular.

That is not true. LOLMETAL spawned a song. What did this spawn but a bunch or whirling nerd-cogs?
posted by dame at 5:26 PM on July 9, 2007


MetaFilter: What did this spawn but a bunch or whirling nerd-cogs?
posted by cgc373 at 5:35 PM on July 9, 2007


It's the hybrid Jewish/Catholic upbringing, baby. I ooze guilt.
posted by cortex at 7:36 PM on July 9 [+] [!]


Hah. If you felt that guilty you would compose us a song.
posted by caddis at 5:57 PM on July 9, 2007


I know that I almost never flag things that I *like*, especially since the advent of the favorites system. Would it help to do more of that?
posted by freebird at 5:57 PM on July 9, 2007


no, the bots just delete away after about 15 or so negative flags, and the positive flags are probably always an order of magnitude or more less
posted by caddis at 7:11 PM on July 9, 2007


deletions used to be based on judgment, not a bunch of turds clicking the flag button
posted by caddis at 7:12 PM on July 9, 2007


deletions used to be based on judgment, not a bunch of turds clicking the flag button

They still are based on judgment, you just don't agree with it.

For the record, if people really like a post that they think might be problematic, flagging it as fantastic is something we see and take into account.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:16 PM on July 9, 2007


deletions used to be based on judgment, not a bunch of turds clicking the flag button

It's still not that. I made a tricky call, some folks disagree with it, and I don't think their reasoning is unsound, and here we are. Now and then there's stuff that gets flagged to high heaven that seems pretty much just fine to me, and genuine stinkers that for whatever reason don't get flagged much at all; I'm making considered decisions every day, as is Jessamyn, as is Matt. Can't please all the people all the time, to dare trot out that old pre-Wilkes-Boothism.

Hah. If you felt that guilty you would compose us a song.

I've got about half of a latter-day Springsteen number called "Condolences on the Deletion of Your Post"—somewhere between Philadelphia and My Hometown, give or take—but the second verse isn't coming together yet. I'll keep you posted; gotta do a few Oy, Mary!s first.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:40 PM on July 9, 2007


Dear diary: caddis finally noticed me!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:51 PM on July 9, 2007


It's an anagram of an acrostic. Better ask Da Vinci.
posted by davy at 9:23 PM on July 9, 2007


dersins: That thread has been favorited by almost 130 people. This confirms the theory.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:50 PM on July 9, 2007


I used to like puzzles. Until my brain broke. Now I burn though more than enough brainpower just trying to untangle my mp3 player earbuds, thank you very much.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:46 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stavros honey, don't feel bad. My brain is so broken that not only did I not even bother TRYING to solve the damn thing, I lazily turned it into a Twilight Zone joke. And got favorites for it.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:32 AM on July 10, 2007


All's well that ends well. I'm glad the MeTa thread was posted since it allowed the folks into the puzzle to have somewhere to discuss it, and for some of the MeFi faithful to find it after it was deleted. Quite a bit of time and effort went into the post so excuse me if I call bullshit on anyone that flagged it "noise" simply because it was not immediately understandable. Flagging that it breaks the guidelines would be nearer the mark since the links probably don't hold value to many people; however I'd argue that the puzzle itself leant value to the links for those people taking the trouble to look into it.

As for the flagging or complaining about posts, I generally make a point of not doing this in posts that simply don't interest me or I do not understand. I do it when I think something is bad for MetaFilter. Unlike cortex I interpreted the majority of the comments in the thread as harmless, amusing banter. If people flagged it because they think puzzles don't belong, fine; but if they flagged it because it didn't make immediate sense - tough shit. Why does everything have to make immediate sense? The reason for deletion given disappointed me for this reason. This was the easiest post in the world to skip past for those without the time and inclination, which will always be in the significant majority for a post like this. Looking at the feedback in some of the previous puzzle posts compared with the treatment of this post I'd contend that times have changed.

SOLUTION

Answer: Syzygy

For the sake of completeness I'll post a full solution to the puzzle here. A quick note on the difficulty: I was conscious that this is a difficult thing to get right, and I definitely tried to opt for the difficult end of the spectrum since MetaFilter is a big place with some smart people. I'll post my first-draught clues here, too. I think if I'd used these the puzzle would have been much easier, more accessible, but cracked much more quickly. As it was, the puzzle was cracked in 5 hours which to me seems about the perfect amount of time. I have no idea how long team lowkey spent on it, though. It's sometimes hard to make a clue *slightly* easier - normally you just end up giving it away too easily.

This puzzle took the form of those puzzles where working out that there is a puzzle, and what the actual puzzle is, is part of the challenge. A few people assumed, from the appearance, that this was a hangman puzzle. As Plutor correctly pointed out, this was not a hangman puzzle since clues were given. Each underscore does represent a letter of the word that is the final solution, but each link, combined with a clue given in the mouseover text, provides the final answer, either explicitly, or in a hint/reinforcing form. I hoped that people would need to unravel some of the clues to be sure of the answer without necessarily having to understand all of them. Some clues, in isolation, are definitely not sufficient to give the final answer.

Here's the original form of the puzzle:

_ _ _ _ _ _

Link 1: Clue - "But this one isn't in the can". "In the can" refers to the can puzzle solution in the 7th Guest Can Puzzle linked to. The solution to the Seventh Guest puzzle is a sentence composed entirely of words without vowels (so long as you discount Y). This clue was meant to suggest that the solution word was also a word without vowels. This was put first deliberately as I thought it insufficient to crack the puzzle, and I wanted people to look at more than one clue. Anyone that had immediately twigged "okay, we're looking for a word without vowels" would have made the simple logical step of looking for such a word with six letters of which there is only one: syzygy. Instead, this clue was supposed to reinforce the answer in people's minds after they had extracted the word from other clues. My first draught clue: "Not in the can puzzle, but could have been".

Link 2: Clue - "His salvation." team lowkey expressed this perfectly. " Tintin's salvation in that story [Prisoners of the Sun] is an eclipse. Syzygy [in astronomy] is an alignment of celestial bodies."Again, it is unlikely that this clue would lead you to the word syzygy, but will, hopefully, confirm it in your mind once you have it. It helps to know the story, but it was googlable for those that did not. The link itself didn't make this explicit and that was deliberate. First draught clue: "Tintin's salvation".

Link 3: Clue - "OTDIH: MI admission". I suspected this would be the easiest clue but it turns out that this wasn't the case. Making acronyms is easy, and it can be hard to work out how gettable they are once you've created it in your own mind. OTDIH stood for "on this day in history". I was concerned people weren't seeing this so I posted a comment above with these words only. stopgap, who was well on the case, didn't need the hint. However, history did not refer to the history tab in the Wikipedie page linked to (a good idea, though) but instead referred to "MI admission" or the day Michigan was admitted to the union: January 26. I checked this was nice and googlable for anyone coming at it from this direction. The date corresponds to the broadcast dates in the list of X Files episodes I linked to. Looking for episodes first broadcast on January 26, there are two, the first of which was called Syzygy. It's the only one with six letters. Being British, I'd hoped MI would scream Michigan to American readers, but I don't really have a handle on whether this is the case or not, but this clue was designed to lead you to the word Syzygy. First draught clue: "OTDIH: Rum Rebellion! Michigan becomes State. Ranger 3 blasts off".

Link 4: Clue - "Bystrokhodny 1-UP". Here Bystrokhodny is a reference to Bystrokhodny Tank, often abbreviated to BT, which is a Soviet class of tank. I didn't know this myself and didn't expect many others to either, but it's right there in the Wikipedia post that comes 4th in google search of the word Bystrokhodny. In case this was too abstract I did post an easier working version of the clue, "Sherman 1-UP", above that I was originally concerned would give this away, and perhaps did contribute in the end. There's a game called Tanks in the linked list of videogames. 1-UP might appear to be a videogame reference, but if you literally look "1 up" from tanks in the list you find a game called Syzygy. Again this clue was designed to lead you to the word syzygy. First draught clue: "Twixt the mega-sith ahd the shermans".

Link 5: Clue - "Apt description". Syzygy is an apt description for twins, especially "inseparable twins Castor and Polydeuces". In general use, syzygy suggestions conjunction and unity. In medicine it refers to the fusion of organs. In this depiction the twins appear the be joined at the shoulder. Again, a clue that would reinforce the answer rather than suggest it. First draught clue: "Apt description".

Link 6: Clue - "-M, +R. Bzzzzz". This more than any required an unfair leap in thinking ("no shit!" I hear you cry) but since it wasn't the only clue I make no apologies. The link takes you to a fridge magnet of the Mona Lisa. -M, +R gives you Rona Lisa, correctly identified by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg as a reference to Rona Lisa Peretti, a character in the musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. As the Wikipedia article points out, "She won the 3rd spelling bee by spelling syzygy". First draught clue: "-M, +R. Bzzzzz"
posted by nthdegx at 1:00 AM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Well there's a first - the first time I ever disagreed with a deletion on MeFi (that I can recall, anyway). Surely we haven't got so curmudgeonly as to react knee-jerk style to the naysayers and killjoys? I hope not. I hope not.
posted by dg at 2:28 AM on July 10, 2007


I liked this, a lot, but I approve of the deletion. MetaFilter, like it or not, is primarily (although not necessarily solely) about linking to good stuff on the web. None of those links come anywhere close to meeting that criteria. A fun thread doesn't a good post make. Yes, I know that thread wasn't deleted, but Matt said it was because he didn't see it until it was already 200 comments deep and too late.

But again, this was a fun, tough puzzle for which I commend nthdegx. Perhaps monthly puzzle-type things in the grey are a good idea.
posted by Plutor at 3:50 AM on July 10, 2007


"okay, we're looking for a word without vowels" would have made the simple logical step of looking for such a word with six letters of which there is only one: syzygy.

rhythm

posted by gleuschk at 6:14 AM on July 10, 2007


crypts, flybys, nymphs, psychs, spryly, sylphs, synchs, trysts
posted by Plutor at 6:33 AM on July 10, 2007


Mnuh. Given that it wasn't so long ago I was reading up on this that was a particularly stupid comment on my part. Rhythm, of course. Spryly - good one. Plurals I'm not counting ;)

MODERATOR!
posted by nthdegx at 6:46 AM on July 10, 2007


MODERATOR!

what?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:57 AM on July 10, 2007


I wonder...

HOTH-OUTFIT PRINCESS LEIA!
posted by nthdegx at 7:07 AM on July 10, 2007


I'm thinking of a number, it will require some intuitive leaps for you to guess it.
posted by everichon at 7:09 AM on July 10, 2007


*dons metal bikini*

MetaFilter, like it or not, is primarily (although not necessarily solely) about linking to good stuff on the web. None of those links come anywhere close to meeting that criteria.

See, and that's part of it. We do have things that dally to a greater or lesser extent from that maxim, but it remains an important one. I like puzzles—I experience genuine happy feelings when discussing the subject in general—but the Puzzle Post tactic on an FPP is essentially saying "hey, uh, there's something interesting going on here if you disregard the fact that where an interesting link would go there's boring nonsense that serves my purposes". Anybody who doesn't decided to get their Encyclopedia Brown on has just been served up a big plate of nothing, which is kind of a tricky thing to accommodate.

Anyway, that was an unstated part of my reaction to the post; I'm glad Plutor commented explicitly on it, because it's a part of the thought process that went into this contended decision. I continue to see both sides of it, but this is definitely one of the arguments against. Opacity is a three-edged sword and &c
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:49 AM on July 10, 2007


My favorite puzzle in any adventure game ever is the chess one in Zork: Grand Inquisitor. A perfect answer to the "guess what I'm thinking" type puzzles that plagued that genre. Sorry, hearing the hated words seventh and guest got me thinking about my misspent youth.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:53 AM on July 10, 2007


Quite a bit of time and effort went into the post so excuse me if I call bullshit on anyone that flagged it "noise" simply because it was not immediately understandable. Flagging that it breaks the guidelines would be nearer the mark since the links probably don't hold value to many people; however I'd argue that the puzzle itself leant value to the links for those people taking the trouble to look into it.

I wish I could flag this as "condescending preening".
posted by mkultra at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Then I have to ask again that moderators concentrate on making their reasons for deletion less funny and more transparent so that we can actually learn from them, because your reason for deletion doesn't reflect what you're saying now at all.
posted by nthdegx at 8:05 AM on July 10, 2007


Please, just let yourself be in the wrong, let it go, and move on.
posted by mkultra at 8:27 AM on July 10, 2007


My point of view isn't what you think it is.
posted by nthdegx at 8:35 AM on July 10, 2007


My point of view isn't what you think it is.

Is this dude enigmatic or what??
posted by deern the headlice at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2007


Everyone is being remarkably good natured and fair about all this. The "good links are paramount" criterion has stood the test of time, and while I don't fully buy it - since that's the basis of many sites nowhere near as rad as MeFi - it has served well as a way to fend off chatfilter and the self-reference disease that infected K5.

So: how about this - PuzzlePosts are inherently "meta", and belong here in The Grey. That way they don't detract from the linky goodness that is The Blue, and may even provide some pleasant distraction from the noise between the Flameouts we're all really here for.
posted by freebird at 9:44 AM on July 10, 2007


Everyone is being remarkably good natured and fair about all this.

That that comment didn't end with some variant of a contrastive "...because, really, go fuck yourselves!" pleases more than I would have thought. Hi, freebird!
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:52 AM on July 10, 2007


MetaFilter: ...because, really, go fuck yourselves!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:57 AM on July 10, 2007


We do have things that dally to a greater or lesser extent from that maxim, but it remains an important one.

WHAT DOES THAT SENTENCE EVEN MEAN?????
posted by quonsar at 10:22 AM on July 10, 2007


It means cortex prefers FHM to Maxim.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:25 AM on July 10, 2007


q, baby, it means that actually linking to inherently good, self-contained web content is a really good principle, so while it's not the end of the world if people occasionally do weirder stuff that doesn't really fit that idea, it shouldn't be too goddam surprising to said people if doing so draws some fire and negative administrative attention.

And also I have a blister on my right middle finger and so I'm trying to not go crazy with the typing, which made me less inclined to rewrite that "dally" line around a maybe-clearer "dalliance" construction than I normally would. But now I did it anyway. I want these motherfucking fishes out of my motherfucking pants.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:50 AM on July 10, 2007


excuse me if I call bullshit on anyone that flagged it "noise" simply because it was not immediately understandable.

I've carefully considered this, but no. No, you are not excused.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:26 AM on July 10, 2007


made me less inclined to rewrite that "dally" line

oh. heh. i read that as "daily".

NEVER MIND.
posted by quonsar at 11:50 AM on July 10, 2007


Wow. Yeah, your version is pretty nutso.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:54 PM on July 10, 2007


I SAID NEVER MIND
posted by quonsar at 12:55 PM on July 10, 2007


I WISH I COULD QUIT YOU
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:00 PM on July 10, 2007


Anybody who doesn't decided to get their Encyclopedia Brown on has just been served up a big plate of nothing, which is kind of a tricky thing to accommodate.
And anyone who doesn't care deeply about US politics is about to get served huge quantities of nothing on a daily basis for a year or so. Which doesn't seem to be any problem to accommodate.

Yes, I understand that, if you let it go, it would result in a flood of poorly-thought-out quizzes (not that this one was), but it seems a shame that something good like this has to go to avoid the flood of crap, when it is the crap that needs to be deleted. I see why, even though I don't like it.
posted by dg at 2:01 PM on July 10, 2007


Quite a bit of time and effort went into the post so excuse me if I call bullshit on anyone that flagged it "noise" simply because it was not immediately understandable.

Not only do you not understand MetaFilter, you don't want to, and you'll probably pull more shit like this in the future because you're so fucking cool. Wonderful.
posted by languagehat at 4:18 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


languagehat never liked any of the puzzle posts by the way. I can respect this. I just don't like the preachy tone about why this is not supposed to be a good post, especially since a lot of folks disagree with that sentiment.
posted by caddis at 4:35 PM on July 10, 2007


Quite a bit of time and effort went into the post

Man, if there's one thing worse than using favorites as a metric of quality, it's Marx's Labour Theory of Value. Now, who wants mudpies? I've been making them allll day, so you know they're good!

*Sits back, waits for some Marxist to deliver a crushing refutation of my glib smartarsery .*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:45 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


languagehat never liked any of the puzzle posts by the way. I can respect this.
Thanks, and I respect the people who like them—I just don't think such posts fit the parameters of MeFi as I understand them. If mathowie were to say explicitly "hell, puzzle posts are fine," I'd ignore them just like I do most of the pop-culture and techie posts.
posted by languagehat at 5:49 PM on July 10, 2007


"Quite a bit of time and effort went into the post" - really that was just an aside and not an attempt at a justification. My post was characterised as "capricious", and this was just to counter-balance that. There might be many fair criticisms but that isn't one of them. That line has been quoted in context only once, the point being - if you were going to flag it, flag it cos it breaks the guidelines, not because it was "noise".

There seems to be a lot more consensus as to why these posts should be allowed but less about why they shouldn't be.

"and you'll probably pull more shit like this in the future because you're so fucking cool. Wonderful."

No need for that, really, languagehat. No one else is being aggressive. I tried to make a really good post for the benefit of the site, not for my benefit. I get that I failed at that in the eyes of many, including you, and I respect your reasons. Can you please not speculate as to my motive for making this post, please? You're not basing that on anything. I don't have a posting record that particularly tries to break boundries here. Had there never been puzzle/cypher posts in the past I wouldn't have posted one now. If this thread has any value it's in finding out precisely what is and isn't permissable, but if you're going to carry on like that I'd really much rather the thread was closed.
posted by nthdegx at 10:33 PM on July 10, 2007


"Thanks, and I respect the people who like them."

Just not the people that make them.
posted by nthdegx at 10:34 PM on July 10, 2007


You do not appear to understand what MetaFilter is for. [...] the parameters of MeFi [...]

You prescriptivists with your rules and parameters about how tools for communication should be used. Why can't you accept that the way people use them is, by definition, the right way?

*ducks and runs away cackling maniacally*
posted by freebird at 12:22 AM on July 11, 2007


My post was characterised as "capricious", and this was just to counter-balance that. There might be many fair criticisms but that isn't one of them.

Well, that was really somebody's retread zing from someone taking that specific stab at my deletion decision; it may not have been hand-picked as a descriptor so much as redeployed for rhetorical convenience. There's no doubt in my mind that you spent some time putting it together.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:46 AM on July 11, 2007


Can you please not speculate as to my motive for making this post, please? You're not basing that on anything.

Not true: I'm basing that on your attitude throughout this episode, which has been consistently "Ha ha, I did what I wanted and other people liked it, so screw anybody who disagrees!" rather than "Gee, I thought I was doing a good thing, but if it's against the guidelines please let me know and I won't do it again," which is what I'd expect of someone who actually cared about the guidelines.

But fair enough, you know your motives and I don't, and I apologize for unnecessary roughness and speculation.
posted by languagehat at 8:40 AM on July 11, 2007


"Ha ha, I did what I wanted and other people liked it, so screw anybody who disagrees!"

Please can you tell me where I sounded like this please? My "I call bullshit" comment was by far and away my harshest, but you say my tone was consistently like this. I think if you reread my comments you will find this is absolutely not the case.
posted by nthdegx at 9:03 AM on July 11, 2007


Well, judgment of tone is notoriously subjective. Your two comments on the deleted thread were:

Sorry ;)
Sorry again ;)


That thing on the end is what I call a "smirky" (no idea if this is general usage); to me it conveys hipster sarcasm. At first I thought you were apologizing for the shitty post, then I realized you were saying "Sorry, wrong answer." Apart from the fact that I dislike smirkies, no harm, no foul (apart from the post itself).

Your comments in this thread:

Third clue easiest.
Fourth would be easier if I'd put Sherman 1-UP!
Ran it by some people to make sure it was gettable. It was.

(and further remarks about the puzzle itself, including a long explanation of your clues of no relevance to this MeTa thread, which suggests you're only interested in your puzzle)

$20 paypal if anyone does crack it.
(and further remarks about paying people)

Clearly :) [in response to my "You do not appear to understand what MetaFilter is for."] Haha, funny!

Then I have to ask again that moderators concentrate on making their reasons for deletion less funny and more transparent so that we can actually learn from them, because your reason for deletion doesn't reflect what you're saying now at all.


This, to me, is a clear "fuck you, the problem isn't with me, it's with you." It's true that occasionally people do ask for clarity in humility and good faith, but I'd say 90% of the time it's just a supposedly objective way of saying "WAAH my special thing got deleted!" I see no reason for not taking your comment that way, despite what appears to me to be a disingenuous "This isn't a 'why was this post deleted' thread and you don't see me complaining." In fact, I do see you complaining.

So, to summarize: I think I was overstating things when I said "your attitude throughout this episode, which has been consistently 'Ha ha, I did what I wanted and other people liked it, so screw anybody who disagrees!'"; I think it's fairer to categorize your attitude as "Hey, let's talk about my fun puzzle!" while ignoring as far as possible any objections. As you are probably aware, people whose objections are ignored tend to get abrasive when insisting on them, and to the extent I've done that, I apologize. But I still think that you're pleased with yourself for making what I and others see as a post that breaks the rules, and that you have no interest in other points of view.

I should add that I have no interest in getting into a shouting match with you, and would much prefer that one or more of our overlords would make a clear ruling (puzzles are/are not a Good Thing) so the whole debate would be moot. Again, I have no objection if they turn out to be acceptable; it will be far from the first time I've misunderstood the Unwritten Rules of MetaFilter, and I'll just go on my merry way and ignore them henceforth.
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on July 11, 2007


You've misinterpreted me on every possible point. You've also misinterpreted thread. Read the original post. It's asking about the puzzle. Gimme a break, languagehat.
posted by nthdegx at 2:07 PM on July 11, 2007


Gimme a break, languagehat.

OK, I will—I've been noticing you being sensible elsewhere, so I think I was misinterpreting and overreacting. It's hot, we're moving again (fourth time in six years), MetaTalk has been pissing me off lately, bla bla. Apologies.
posted by languagehat at 2:54 PM on July 11, 2007


Hugs!
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:57 PM on July 11, 2007


Getting to call Languagehat a prescriptivist pretty much made my day, so I think we all got something out of this.
posted by freebird at 4:22 PM on July 11, 2007


But that's like saying a bird has wings.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:07 AM on July 12, 2007


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