Telephone Pictionary Results! April 23, 2019 6:57 PM   Subscribe

The new thread to check in with your team and to post the results from the Telephone Pictionary game.

Thanks to duffell for creating and coordinating this project.

daisyace has created a very useful spreadsheet to track who has what, feel free to add your team if it's missing.
posted by metaphorever to MetaFilter Gatherings at 6:57 PM (94 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Team Babelfish results are here!

Team Babel Fish is: cdefgfeadgagfe, exogenous, jazon, daisyace, tuesdayschild, odinsdream, telepanda, duffell, and metaphorever. Thanks team, you all did amazing!
posted by metaphorever at 7:10 PM on April 23, 2019 [17 favorites]

oh man oh man oh man

I'm so excited to see this posted!

I've got a site I can use to pull together all of the results, and I'll get that organized in the next couple of days.

If you're the last link in a chain and don't have an easy way to upload the results, feel free to attach them to an email to and I'll take care of it.
posted by duffell at 7:31 PM on April 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

hahahahahahahaha, good stuff!
posted by exogenous at 7:33 PM on April 23, 2019

I noticed that the last two steps on team Green Bullet were flipped (me and missmary6) according to the order in the original email, so I swapped them. This spreadsheet is fantastic though, I keep wondering if I've missed any mail so this is comforting.
posted by Mizu at 8:00 PM on April 23, 2019

There are several groups missing from that spreadsheet I think
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:13 PM on April 23, 2019

I was trying to be clever. I should have known I couldn't compete with Cheesey McChick Sticks, or McSticky Cheese Chicks, or whatever it is we just unleashed on the world.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 9:50 PM on April 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Team Babelfish results are here!

This is very good and I am looking forward to seeing others!

There are several groups missing from that spreadsheet I think

Pneumatic Dispatch is one of the missing ones! Which I know off-hand because I was assigned to kick that one off and am wondering now if I should have also notified someone about said fact. The spreadsheet's a great idea and I don't know if it's come together after the fact or if it's a detail I totally failed to notice in initial communications, but if there's something I can do as a participant to help with the tracking of stuff, lemme know duffel and daisyace and whomever else.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:59 PM on April 23, 2019

winterhill, this thread explains it
posted by exogenous at 4:10 AM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'll be on the lookout, kanata!
posted by odd ghost at 4:29 AM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

This spreadsheet is a great idea. I added my missing teams.
And thanks for posting those results!!
posted by eirias at 4:53 AM on April 24, 2019

That result is awesome, Team Babelfish!
Team Semaphore has just passed stage #4... I am #7 on Pnueumatic Dispatch, but I am about to be out of the country until May 20. Sorry in advance for the delay if I cannot do my step remotely.
posted by coppertop at 5:24 AM on April 24, 2019

Nice work, Babelfish! Those results are amazing.

I updated the spreadsheet with a few of my teams that were missing. I know for Team Raven we're waiting on mail forwarding to bring the packet to me since I had to go and muck things up by moving ;) We should be on our way soon!
posted by capricorn at 5:47 AM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ahhh, team Babelfish, that was great! Near the end of both my chains, so I haven't received a packet yet but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's results!
posted by the primroses were over at 5:55 AM on April 24, 2019

I took the liberty of editing the spreadsheet to link to the images for the finished product of Team Babelfish - hope that is alright with folks.
posted by exogenous at 6:12 AM on April 24, 2019

I was missing from Team Semaphore on the spreadsheet, and okayokayigive was listed twice, so I corrected that and updated that it has been sent to coppertop.

I added the missing Team Floo Powder
posted by jrishel at 6:20 AM on April 24, 2019

I added Team Whispering Wind.
posted by Etrigan at 6:30 AM on April 24, 2019

Team Babelfish results are here!

I'm not sure whether to be impressed or irritated that Babelfish broke out of their own recursivity.
posted by Etrigan at 6:32 AM on April 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Decoder Ring, Diplomatic Pouch, and Message in a Bottle are up.
posted by Etrigan at 6:40 AM on April 24, 2019

I added Team Jumbotron.

Thank you for making this spreadsheet, and DANG, that is amazing. So much cheese and chicken.
posted by Fig at 6:42 AM on April 24, 2019

I'm super impressed and grateful for the initiative shown by fellow mefites. Thank you so much, daisyace, for creating that resource!

When I launched the Telephone Pictionary thingamadoo, I intentionally kept it low-maintenance so as not to create too much work for people, but it's clear having a central tracking resource is useful and I'm really happy daisyace put that together. I'll add as many details as I have, later today.

In the meantime, as results come in, I'll add them to this page.
posted by duffell at 6:46 AM on April 24, 2019 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I'd only started the spreadsheet with the four teams I'd played at that point, and left it open for everyone else to add on -- glad it's gathered steam!

And yay Babel Fish! Pretty impressive that odinsdream drew "recursive" in a way that telepanda got!

And ok, I admit it, I don't know what the team names refer to. Will someone clue me in?
posted by daisyace at 7:20 AM on April 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

"recursive poutine"

*dies laughing*

y'all are amazing
posted by barchan at 7:21 AM on April 24, 2019 [6 favorites]

And ok, I admit it, I don't know what the team names refer to. Will someone clue me in?

They're all communications methods.
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 AM on April 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I added Paper Plane to the spreadsheet - this is great!

also, I can't wait to see all the results. :)
posted by needlegrrl at 7:47 AM on April 24, 2019

They're all communications methods.

posted by daisyace at 7:47 AM on April 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh no. This thread reminded me that I still have the Team Sub-Etha book sitting at the bottom of my backpack. I shall send it today. Mea Maxima Culpa.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:52 AM on April 24, 2019

Yeah, all the team names are either communications methods, or at least communications-adjacent. Some are real, several are fictional or speculative.
posted by duffell at 7:55 AM on April 24, 2019

And some aren't *really* communications methods but are in the same ballpark. Like, paper plane? I've definitely sent notes across the classroom using a paper plane, so sure!
posted by duffell at 7:56 AM on April 24, 2019

That sounds fun! Sorry I missed the original thread; will need to visit MeTa more often so maybe I can get in on the next one. There will be a next one, right?
posted by TedW at 1:47 PM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I added DIRAC COMMUNICATOR onto the spreadsheet.

Babelfish was funny, looking forward to the rest!
posted by Julnyes at 3:02 PM on April 24, 2019

"Recursive Poutine" is my new favorite band name.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:48 PM on April 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

I'm late to this thread but I added Interlocitor to the spreadsheet now, Homo Neanderthalensis, kanata, &co... :)
posted by ipsative at 12:04 AM on April 25, 2019

Oh I see you were all faster than my post!!
posted by ipsative at 12:07 AM on April 25, 2019

After the initial sharp left turn, I am amazed how close to the cheese fries theme Babel Fish stayed. I think our priorities are now clear.

Cheese fries and recursion.
posted by telepanda at 6:48 AM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

How should we deal with people not starting the chain or not passing it along?
posted by Julnyes at 12:18 PM on April 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Perhaps duffell could email those people a reminder and option to bow out, wait a week or so for responses and then ask for volunteers to take the dropped spots?
posted by Mizu at 12:41 AM on April 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes I think there's a need for people to be sent MeMail reminding them. Of the three chains I signed up for, I only got one. One I'm a pretty late participant so that's not surprising, but in one I'm the second or so and I haven't received it.
posted by peacheater at 5:43 AM on April 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'll do a round of check-ins tonight and update the spreadsheet accordingly as appropriate.

Thanks for being patient, all, and thanks for being patient with me, too--haven't had a lot of free time this week!
posted by duffell at 2:17 PM on April 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Working through all of the chains where we don't have a recent check-in via email or in-thread, and emailing the last known recipient. This will take a while, but hopefully will jumpstart a few of these!
posted by duffell at 6:36 PM on April 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

Just updated the spreadsheet with my info. Team Whispering Wind and Team Mind Meld mailed off today!
posted by widdershins at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2019

It's taken awhile, but I know where most of the threads stand, and expect to hear back soon on the rest.

Unfortunately, it looks like we're going to need to restart/reissue some of the threads where the booklet has fallen into a black hole. Some of those reassignments have been done already, some will be coming in the next couple of days. Thankfully, some folks signed up for the "backup queue," so we have people who are ready to step in!

Pour one out for the booklets that have been lost. Excelsior.
posted by duffell at 10:53 AM on April 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oh no! I need to remember to take pictures of my drawings, I would be really sad if those got lost (I can't draw for sh*t, so it's quite an effort).
posted by Skybly at 2:00 AM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Quick plug: If you're interested in joining in the fun but missed the cutoff, you can still sign up for the backup queue here. I hopefully won't need too many more "second chancers," but it'll be useful to have some folks ready to go!
posted by duffell at 9:28 AM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Team Pony Express is up!
posted by duffell at 7:37 AM on May 3, 2019 [9 favorites]

Good grief, Pony Express, you’re not supposed to get it RIGHT...
posted by telepanda at 8:31 PM on May 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Here's where things stand currently--these numbers are a bit conservative, since some folks have likely completed steps and have not entered them in the tracker, or notified anyone here or via email. (Also, a number of chains were just reissued, so that pushed us back a bit as well.)

% of chains that have completed at least X many steps:
1 - 84%
2 - 68%
3 - 61%
4 - 48%
5 - 39%
6 - 13%
7 - 10%
8 - 6%
9 (Complete) - 6%

We're getting there! Completed booklets will keep coming in for months, by the look of it.
posted by duffell at 3:41 PM on May 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Is “love is not a potato...” a well-known US saying or something? How on earth did so many people get it right?!
posted by billiebee at 3:41 PM on May 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, no, it is not a well-known US saying. Some Metafilter in-joke? Here's what I would have written after seen the first drawing: "I love pills and french fries turning back into potatoes. Sheep taking pills tend to throw things through windows."
posted by exogenous at 7:07 PM on May 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think it may be an old Russian saying... I know I’ve heard it before and am pretty sure I heard it somewhere other than MetaFilter. I did recognize it when I saw the Pony Express booklet.
posted by bookmammal at 8:02 PM on May 9, 2019

love is not a potato

So I’m one of the links in that chain who translated picture to words. It’s a phrase I knew from Mikhail Baryshnikov, though I don’t know why I knew that—some magazine article?—and I had no idea it was a Russian proverb. More recently and relevantly, though, I knew it from Eyebrows McGee’s profile page, where it appears prominently. I knew that EM had started the chain, and so when I received the (excellent and parseable) picture, I only had to look at the picture for a few seconds before it clicked & I thought, “aha! I know exactly what this is!”

I noted to my fellow Ponies Express (or tried to; my email was acting goofy) that this aha-moment was super satisfying and also a tiny bit disappointing! The goal of this game, for me, is not accurate transmission of data, but low-stakes incomprehension, and the chances it affords for cheerful nonsense & serendipity. This was the first chain I received, and I thought, yikes, are they all going to be so clear? Happily, no—all the others I’ve gotten have been utterly baffling & I have no idea where they started out.
posted by miles per flower at 6:46 AM on May 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Props to Julnyes, eirias, theappleonatree, The corpse in the library, Anotherbrick, miles per flower, Skybly, Amanda, and widdershins!

This chain made its way all over the US with a stop in Germany as well. :-)
posted by duffell at 3:46 PM on May 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

I adore how the sleepy turtle was a hippie turtle by the end! Well done, Golden Record!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:49 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Aw I love this!
posted by billiebee at 2:06 PM on May 22, 2019

Quick update!

Just over half of the total steps in all chains have been completed. Some chains are further along than others, of course, owing to a variety of factors (physical distance, the need to reissue a few chains due to nonresponsiveness or post office issues, and occasionally, difficult life circumstances).

Currently, here's where things stand:

% of chains that have completed at least X many steps:
1 - 100%
2 - 90%
3 - 77%
4 - 55%
5 - 52%
6 - 35%
7 - 23%
8 - 13%
9 (complete) - 10%

And just because I'm extra, I took the helpful spreadsheet daisyace made and added a chart illustrating the stats above. Just in case you're into that sort of thing.
posted by duffell at 9:03 AM on May 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

This thread closed after 30 days, but I finally noticed and asked for it to be re-opened, so it's good for six months now! If, like me, you just figured there hadn't been any updates in a while, there are great surprises in store!

(Team Interocitor, I'm particularly blown away by yours!!)
posted by daisyace at 3:49 PM on June 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

The new arrivals all made me laugh out loud – wonderful stuff!
posted by exogenous at 4:41 PM on June 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:00 PM on June 13, 2019

posted by cortex (staff) at 6:15 PM on June 13, 2019

Thank you once again to the wonderful daisyace for making all manner of ad-hoc improvements where I've overlooked a need--you've made this go so much more smoothly!
posted by duffell at 6:48 PM on June 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

So glad you started this and I love it, so very happy if I’ve helped it along!
posted by daisyace at 6:03 AM on June 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Team Ultrawave Relay is up! This chain made its way to the US, Canada, and Germany! Thanks to okayokayigive, Skybly, peacheater, miles per flower, vespertine, Homo neanderthalensis, ipsative, widdershins, and cubby for participating. :-)

As always, you can see the completed chains linked here.
posted by duffell at 9:53 AM on June 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

That’s great! Smoke signal should be soon - I was second last in that one and sent it off over a week ago.
posted by janell at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2019

I'll always think of grapes and courtyards as naturally going together now.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:03 PM on June 18, 2019

I feel like there’s more to know about grapes in courtyards!
posted by amanda at 8:21 PM on June 18, 2019

And we have another! Team Jumbotron made something disturbing and beautiful!

triggerfinger, kanata, Fig, Metroid Baby, Rock Steady, cubby, Beardman, Jonathan Harford, and widdershins--take a bow!
posted by duffell at 7:54 AM on June 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oh, wow, that one is my favorite so far!
posted by the primroses were over at 8:50 AM on June 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Caaaaackling at that cheerful sheep in that fourth panel.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 AM on June 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Carnivorous sheep - that is a first!
posted by Julnyes at 9:52 AM on June 21, 2019

HR Giger wishes he had thought of Doomsday Steamclock.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Doomsday Steamclock is sooo close to being the best porn name.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have laughed out loud at the Team Jumbotron output several times now -- I don't know whether to take credit or apologize for the v dark turn into bloodthirsty bovines. Fabulous work all around, y'all.
posted by Fig at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

posted by Fig at 12:48 PM on June 21, 2019

Team Raven is complete! Thanks to odinsdream, Eyebrows McGee, suri, capricorn, Fig, Daisyace, Mchelly, and triggerfinger!

This is the one and only chain I'd assigned myself to the last spot, so this one was extra fun for me :-)

Triggerfinger, your "don't peek" warning was so decorative I made sure to include it in the pictures.
posted by duffell at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

Roughly a quarter of these have been completed now (see here for more). I'll take some time this weekend to follow up on some of the other chains. Most are progressing at a steady enough pace, but there are a few currently unaccounted for due to the unresponsiveness of the last known recipient. Hopefully we'll have those sent along soon, I really don't want to have to restart more chains!
posted by duffell at 1:03 PM on June 28, 2019

Well done, Ravens! Caw Caw!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:56 PM on June 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think I'm in 9 of these Pictionary threads (only 1 left!) and this one is my absolute favorite so far. I actually have the Doomsday Clock image hanging on my wall at work (benefit of being the last in the chain!).

This has been a blast. Hope we do it again someday! Duffell, thank you so much for organizing!
posted by widdershins at 8:26 AM on July 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was just going to post the link to the Team Ansible results since no one else has done so, and now find I accidentally deleted the email! Can someone please, please post the album?
posted by Skybly at 6:41 AM on July 18, 2019

Sorry for the delay, Skybly!

Several new booklets have been completed and scanned and all are viewable here. Ansible, Heliograph, and Protean Charm are all new!

Meanwhile, I've been following up with each of the other chains to make sure we know where all the booklets are. It's possible one more has gotten lost and may be reissued, but for the most part things are all intact--just moving a bit slowly. If you're holding onto anything, please complete your step and send it along! :-) If you rarely check your email or memail, or think you might be missing an email from me, please have a thorough look.

Here are the stats as I see them:

100% of chains have at least 2 steps complete,
94% have at least 3 steps complete,
84% have at least 4 steps complete,
71% have at least 5 steps complete,
58% have at least 6 steps complete,
52% have at least 7 steps complete,
45% have at least 8 steps complete, and
35% have been completed.

Overall, 198 out of 279 total steps have been completed, which is 70.97% of the total.
posted by sugar and confetti at 12:13 PM on July 26, 2019

oh and also this is duffell. Hi. I switched to a new username.
posted by sugar and confetti at 12:13 PM on July 26, 2019

Wow, Protean Charm, that escalated!
posted by amanda at 5:03 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I like how absolutely on-message the popcorn one stayed. If there is some metric for the communicative stability in this medium I feel like we could call it The Popcorn Threshold or whatnot. Novel, idiosyncratic semantic load that nonetheless survives through multiple volleys, like one of those optimized phrases that stabilizes under repeated machine translation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:02 PM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Team Carrier Pigeon complete!

Thanks for organising this, it’s been great fun watching the results. I especially enjoyed the journey from “every time you go away...” to “the death claw comes for the corpses...”
posted by billiebee at 6:19 AM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

Nice job, Carrier Pigeon. I especially like the side-eye from the sun at the bird-flipping.
posted by janell at 9:10 AM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Team Smoke Signal is now complete, and it is delightful!

Full list here.
posted by sugar and confetti at 12:38 PM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Team Smoke Signal is now complete, and it is delightful!

That train drawing. So good.

There seems to be more than one instance of turtles in these drawings. What does it mean?!
posted by amanda at 1:27 PM on August 5, 2019

Wow, Smoke Signal, did we get off track! But I am glad we got it done and published.
posted by janell at 1:30 PM on August 5, 2019

Yay Team Smoke Signal! So much fun—and yes, that train drawing is... incredible.
posted by bookmammal at 3:50 PM on August 5, 2019

I'm equally tickled by the awesomeness of that train drawing and how delightful it is that "When I was young I went to France with a turtle as my +1" came through loud and clear from the quick little drawing before it.
posted by daisyace at 5:52 AM on August 6, 2019

posted by The corpse in the library at 9:32 AM on August 29, 2019

Team Semaphore is in, and it's hauntingly poetic!

From factual observation to creation myth in 9 steps.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:05 AM on August 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Team Pneumatic Dispatch is still in play. Soon to head to step 8.
posted by coppertop at 5:55 PM on September 24, 2019

That's great, and others are still progressing, too! Comlink got posted a while without being announced here, and Black Square is in the hands of the last player.
posted by daisyace at 9:19 AM on September 25, 2019

Oooh, that Comlink one. Thanks for announcing it.
posted by janell at 2:24 PM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

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