Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

09 Jan 2022, 3:00 a.m.

A Popular Word Guessing Game

Leonard and I play Wordle together every day. You probably will not see me posting my results in the Fediverse or on Twitter because we usually sit together and play on my phone, and I deliberately make it somewhat hard to interact with microblogging services on my phone. And you won't see me posting about it on Facebook, Instagram, &c. because I'm not on those services. But we enjoy it!

Some folks (as seen in this MetaFilter thread) see a puzzle like this and want to optimize their strategies, perhaps even writing software to work out the best approach. ("So I coded the Knuth-heuristic solution for Wordle....") Some really want to play the back catalog so they set their computer clocks back to try old puzzles. Some others respond by writing software that riffs on, reimplements, or creates an ecology around the puzzle: a version you can play ad infinitum, a command-line clone written in Python, a site to quickly generate descriptive text so that if you share your Wordle result emoji on social media it'll be accessible and screen-reader friendly. [You could not previously get the shareable emoji in Firefox on Android, because Firefox on Android did not support the Web Share API. But this is now fixed on Wordle's end, so if you're solving the puzzle on your Android phone using Firefox, then once it's solved, click the Share button and you'll get a "copied to clipboard" message. Then you can share that in a text/Signal message, on social media, etc. It'll be the emoji plus the "World 200 2/6" (or similar) text.]

We don't do any of those things, particularly. We don't play ANOLE or RIOTS or AUDIO consistently as the first word we try, instead just picking a word every day. I started keeping a list of five-letter words to consult but we haven't looked at it in weeks. Sometimes we get the answer in just enough tries so that the game congratulates us with "Impressive" or "Splendid" or "Magnificent" and we say it aloud to each other in a posh-type accent. I am treating this like a game -- which is to say, a structure for play where performance does not matter and and the important thing is having fun, and silliness is totally fine because no one is depending on us solving the problem.

I also came across Guess My Word, another fairly simple web-based word guessing game, and one which lets you play the back catalog. Leonard and I sometimes play it together, alternating who's guessing, and maybe trying to use guess-words along a theme like "geology" or "things you see around the house."

Also: I'm happy that Josh Wardle has promised the game will stay simple and ad-free and that he's not doing anything malign with our data. Thanks!