Meta Stack OverflowNot a real question – A Stack Exchange game
[+85] [10] balpha
[2010-03-28 17:58:50]
[ discussion data-dump not-a-real-question games ]

Update (2010/08/11): Now uses the API [1] to retrieve questions for the games. Added Cooking and Gaming.

Update (2010/04/18): Now contains games from all four Trilogy sites.

I have created a little game from the data dump.

The following text is copied from the intro text on the website:

It's easy: After having chosen a site, you'll see a a button labeled "Play". As soon as you click it, you will be presented with three questions from the Stack Overflow family site of your choice. Unfortunately, there has been a mixup in the database, and the backup strategy… well, let's just say it could have been a tiny little bit better. So you have to help.

You have to find out which of the given tags, text excerpts, and vote counts belong to which question. Use your mouse to drag the tiles to their correct places.

As soon as you have a plausible solution ("plausible" doesn't mean much – just that each question has a vote count, a text excerpt, and 1 to 5 tags), you will see a large button labeled "I'm done!". If you are done, you click it. And let's hope you sorted things out correctly, because the evil hyphen site is just around the corner to fight you in the grand finale. Or not.

It currently includes only Stack Overflow questions, but sooner or later I'll probably extend this to the whole Trilogy. [status-completed]

So, without further ado, I give you: [2]

Have fun and give feedback.

(19) WARNING: very addictive! - Jon Seigel
(1) It seems to be stuck on "sending..." (Actually, it's a JS error, "JSON is not defined"... ? Same results in FF3 and IE.) - Aarobot
@Aaronaught: What browser are you using? I thought (well, was hoping) that JSON is available in all newer broswers... - balpha
FF 3.0.13. Looks like there's an update to 3.0.18, would this have made a difference? It's failing at JSON.stringify. - Aarobot
Bah, the JSON was added in FF 3.5. I didn't even know there was a 3.5. Sigh... - Aarobot
@Aaronaught: I have included the json library from now. Could you try again? - balpha
Great... now everything is broken. I think you shouldn't have added that library. Or I shouldn't have updated to FF 3.6. :P - Aarobot
I got a Uncaught ReferenceError: init_game is not defined error on line 132. It worked the first time, but not anymore (chrome 5) - Ikke
Yeah, I just reverted last change. @Ikke, @Aaronaught - balpha
Still broken here... sorry, I broke your game. :( (P.S. I also get init_game is not defined) - Aarobot
Does it get cached, or is it not yet updated? - Ikke
(2) No, double face-palm for me. I didn't add the library, I replaced my game library with it. Works again now. - balpha
Great! It would be much easier if you show accepted rate of OP :P - YOU
The tags and question text are pretty easy, but the vote counts are hard. Really hard. - mmyers
Even when I cheat I get it wrong every time... I think something is wrong with this thing. - A very laser Christmas
@NIfE: Now that would this cheating look like? And what can I do to punish you for trying? :P - balpha
@NIfE: Wait a moment, you don't happen to be the guy with the canadian IP who triggers the "This game hasn't been solved yet" error all the time? - balpha
@balpha: I keep getting that message, yes. That isn't the "you lose" event? I figured you just didn't put effort into the "you lose" screen. - A very laser Christmas
@balpha: "Cheating" in this case is "Holy damn this thing never reports a victory, I'm going to look up the questions and make sure I'm completely right before submitting to prove the game hates me and that balpha sucks." It failed me one too many times and I knew that it was LYING - A very laser Christmas
@NIfE No, the "you lose" screen is supposed to show you what you did wrong. When you click the "I'm Done" button, an AJAX call gets made to /contest/[number]/solve, and on success, you get redirected to /contest/[number]/evaluate. But your AJAX calls never reach the server for some reason (I've been watching you in the logs for a while), so you get the error. Is something blocking POST Ajax calls on your side? - balpha
@balpha: I don't know. Possibly. We have content filters here that might be doing something like that. I don't really have visibility into that. Let me try another browser and cheat it up. - A very laser Christmas
It works in IE 6 but not in Chrome 5. - A very laser Christmas
@NIfE You're a child ;) Good to know it works in IE6 (!). But weird that it doesn't work in Chrome 5, I have lots of Chrome 5s in the access log that seem to work fine, including my own. - balpha
I think, in next week, this will become Bot Contest, and everyone one in the all-time-awesome will be under 3 seconds. - YOU
Cheating is wrong, Mark. - A very laser Christmas
I have spent much too much time on this game. I will quit now that most of the leaderboard is me. - A very laser Christmas
Cheating and getting caught is wrong @nife - Juan Manuel
(1) @Aaronaught: That would be cheating. When you cheat like that, I'm still the winner because, in the end, the only one you're cheating is yourself. - A very laser Christmas
Oh wow. I came home, and using a machine that doesn't suck I got 24.5 seconds first try. I bet I can beat 23 seconds no problem on this machine. - A very laser Christmas
@NifE: Sure, but at least I'd be cheating myself better than you cheated yourself. - Aarobot
I'm not cheating myself or anyone else. Cheating is wrong. - A very laser Christmas
@NIfE: It's only wrong when someone else does it. - Aarobot
Which is why it's wrong when you do it. I don't understand why you think cheating is right. - A very laser Christmas
@Aaronaught: Wow. Anythying under 16 seconds (that's 1 second per piece) is suspicious. Would you please step out of the line and put your hands behind your head? - balpha
I'm happy to have the best non-cheating score, then. - A very laser Christmas
@balpha: You've obviously underestimated my mouse-flicking skills. I just had to train extra hard. - Aarobot
(1) @NIfE: Don't be silly, your heartfelt speech really got to me. Cheating would have been wrong. I played fair just like you did. - Aarobot
(1) @Aaronaught: That is crazy. You have mad skillz. - A very laser Christmas
(1) Hah! This is fun, awesome job! - John Himmelman
(3) Tagline for this question: What happens when you get a group of bored programmers together to compete in a web-based online game with no prizes? Escalation. - Aarobot
Btw, .* is me and I am doing the same way as @Aaronaught and @NIfE too, and just curious what would happens if we keep beating each others :P - YOU
@S.Mark - same way? How do you know what I am doing? :P (And what happened to your 7 second record...) - Aarobot
@Aaronaught, It was just like you said to @NIfE, "I played fair just like you did" too. :D I've done 4.75 seconds yesterday, but this morning I dont see it and I think balpha deleted it. Anyway, I was just bored :P - YOU
@SMark I haven't deleted it, I have suspended it in the hope that .* comes forward and explains how it would even physically be possible to move 16 tiles in 4.75 seconds, including thinking time. There where some indications in the logs that made me suspicious, and lastly I didn't know it was you. :) So, how'd you do it? - balpha
@balpha, If 9 seconds is possible, 4.75 seconds is possible too :-) (how I do it?) Well, Firstly, I dont need to think, I supposed to memorize the internet, but its not perfect, so you see many failure attempts in your logs :D and When I move my mouse, tiles comes under the mouse with the power of your Unicorns, and I clicked those just like others did. Isn't that fair enough? - YOU
Hmmm, should this be closed as not meta-related. It most definitely belongs on StackApps...(I know it's already there too) - jjnguy
@balpha but it just fails to retrieve anything from the API, put it back! - MrABC
For whatever reason, it can't retrieve any games from the Gaming site, but it's working OK for SO. - Powerlord
@R.Bemrose: There've been reports of problems with the App Engine and the API; maybe that's related. I guess I'll have to improve my error logging a bit -- currently I just get "Exception while making game" in the logs :) Thanks for letting me know. - balpha
[+11] [2010-03-28 18:05:57] Pekka's Organic Rep Farm

Ahahahahahaha! This is great, once again. It didn't take long to associate the -3 vote with the question ending with Please help! :) The rest was a bit tougher. What a nice game for the whole family :)

Update: this is really great. It takes a lot of general knowledge, and understanding of how the SO community works (in order to get the votes right).

The language-agnostic question is the one with most votes :) - Koper
[+8] [2010-03-28 18:19:43] Adam Davis

I love it. Now it needs to be made into an iPhone game.

[+4] [2010-03-29 11:38:31] YOU

Really really great, and addicted!

How about adding Difficulty Levels?

For example

  • Beginner - show Question Age, Answer Counts, View Counts, (may be OP accept rate too)
  • Intermediate - show Question Age only
  • Expert - current one

So, New users can play and learn Stack Overflow.

Interesting idea. I wouldn't use the accept rate, because I want to keep it about the questions, not the users. But I like the general idea of difficulty levels. One could also vary the number of questions. - balpha
[+4] [2010-04-18 14:02:57] The Unhandled Exception

Great concept! However when I tried to solve one [1], I got:

This game has not been solved yet

On a blank page. Nothing else. [status-bydesign]?


not a real question - bobobobo
That's actually [status-reproduced]. There seems to be an issue with the solution never reaching the server, particularly with Chrome (you're the first where I notice it with Safari; might be a Webkit thing then). I'll change the submission from an AJAX call to a form post today, that will hopefully fix this. - balpha
[status-completed] - balpha
Awesome thanks, I'll try it again! - The Unhandled Exception
[+3] [2010-04-18 20:19:06] Earlz

It's not working for me. I finished the game and then click "Send" and now it's just stuck at "Sending..."

what's the contest number? - balpha
Also, any JavaScript error output would be interesting. - balpha
It works on Opera - Firas Assaad
(1) Ditto - Firefox on Ubuntu, hangs at sending... Looks like fun, i'll try again later from my Windows machine. - William Hilsum
@Wil (and possibly Earlz): You're right; Firefox seems to be picky about submitting a form only if it has been inserted into the DOM, which I hadn't done. This is fixed now; thanks. - balpha
[+3] [2010-04-18 21:01:11] Adam Davis

This should be mandatory training for people gaining 3k privileges.

/tongue only slightly in cheek

[+2] [2010-03-28 18:59:45] Aarobot

Now that I've finally gotten it working - love it.

The negative-voted posts form a fantastic Stack Overflow hall of shame. "how do i show all divs in firefox" was classic. The entertainment value of those alone makes it teh awesome.

(P.S. I beat you suckaz!)

@Aaronaught Hah! Like hell you did. - Pekka's Organic Rep Farm
@Aaronaught I like your reputation count by the way. - Pekka's Organic Rep Farm
Muwahahahaha... no more upvotes/downvotes anyone, I must maintain this level of pure evil. - Aarobot
P.S. @Pekka you obviously cheated, you must have used a Greasemonkey script to reset the timer. - Aarobot
Actually, as you can see at… Pekka was all for having the timing done 100% server side -- so he robbed himself of that chance :) - balpha
@balpha aaah, that was the background! :) @Aaronaught maybe it's because my Internet is so fast? :P - Pekka's Organic Rep Farm
Phew, that was tough, but @Pekka, like hell I did indeed. ;) - Aarobot
@Aaronaught you didn't dare break my...! Oh well. I have to get back at it tomorrow. Just you wait. - Pekka's Organic Rep Farm
But anyway, hats off @Aaronaught, 26 seconds is going to be tough to beat. - Pekka's Organic Rep Farm
Beat it. Loser. - A very laser Christmas
@NIfE: As you wish. It is beaten. - Aarobot
[+2] [2010-03-30 22:40:33] Farseeker

Love it, but I'm yet to win a game. Which is an issue, because when I manually validate my mistakes, they're actually correct:

I don't know if this linkie will work, but:

Makes a pony sad

(I'm assuming that the vote discrepancy happened after the data dump). Questions are:

(1) Yes, the link works; there are no cookies involved. Everything is based on the secret token. You are aware, though, that what get's displayed is the correct solution, with red highlights where you where wrong, right? (Oh, and +1 for beautiful freehand connected circle twin thingadongdongs) - balpha
I checked; you submitted the scores in the order -5/6/0, the [php] tag in the mac question and the [beginner] tag in the first question. But you're right in so far that the "delta" screen could be improved a little. - balpha
Oooh, ok. I was under the impression that the items in red were what I got WRONG... cos there's no way that I could see to compare what I submitted against what was displayed. All good. - Farseeker
[+1] [2010-06-20 17:50:49] Joey

Fun game.

A minor suggestion:

Place the things to be dragged and the places to be dragged to next to each other. On my 1680×1050 screen I don't have enough vertical space to see everything. And the very fact that the things you're dragging around are below the placeholders is that everything jumps around after nearly every action. This makes it harder than it needs to be, imho, to efficiently play this game.

Interesting; I actually built it on a screen of that resolution and had everything visible. Re the jumping: Yeah, the UI probably won't win a design prize, but at least the conditions are equal for everyone :) Thanks for the feedback! - balpha
[0] [2010-03-29 17:37:10] IAbstract

This is actually very fun. I managed to get my first attempt correct. Need to include the "Accepted Answer" if available. Great way to learn not only the community, but also if answers were included, some general knowledge. Match Jon Skeet's answers to the question.