A Troll Bot Is Ruining Wordle by Forcing Innocent Players To See the Next Day’s Answer

A Troll Bot Is Ruining Wordle by Forcing Innocent Players To See the Next Day’s Answer
Screenshot: Josh Wardle / Kotaku

Clearly someone hasn’t learned about the Curse Of Wordle. A grade-A prick has created a Twitter bot that looks for those tweeting their score for that day’s word puzzle, and replies with a spoiler for the following day’s word. The bot’s goal, apparently, is “to terminate Wordle bragging.”

Wordle, the splendid word guessing game that has mysteriously taken over all of humanity (even to the point of featuring in SNL’s cold open this weekend), is seemingly designed only to being love and joy. As proven by its creator’s apparently altruistic aims and refusal to monetise, along with the charitable acts of those enriched by merely being associated with the game, it’s at this point our only hope for peace. So no one takes kindly to some arsehole trying to spoil the experience for everyone.

This dark tale begins earlier this month, as spotted by NME, when a software engineer called Robert Reichel decided to reverse engineer the game’s code out of pure curiosity. He chronicled his pursuit in a blog post, revealing that he had fathomed the algorithm that decided each day’s chosen word. From this, he was able to work out what the following day’s word was going to be, chosen by the algorithm from a static list, and thus get the game “right” first time, every time.

His mistake was showing off. Posting the method, he then concluded, “Try it out.” Which of course people did. And one person, as yet unidentified, thought it’d be a great idea to create a Twitter bot that used this information, then sniffed around for those posting their scores to their timeline, in order to reply to them spoiling the game for them for the next day.

One of the simple joys of Wordle, in which you get six guesses to identify a five-letter word, correctly placed letters and incorrectly guessed letters highlighted Mastermind-style, is you can so simply share your results with friends without spoiling the game for them. Using emojis, it creates a version of the grid with green and yellow rectangles, showing your guesses and how many turns you took to finish. So of course a lot of people have been posting those results to Twitter.

As you can see above, I did this for the very first time today, because I was extra proud of getting a tough word after two big misses. Usually, my friends and I share our results in a little WhatsApp group. Sometimes we’re nerdy enough to try to discern each other’s first guessed words based on the pattern of results. We’re all having fun, and harming no one.

But apparently this shared enthusiasm was more than one dickwad could cope with, explaining his spoilerbot account — The Wordlinator — with, “I was sent from the future to terminate wordle bragging.” Except, because it’s a bot, it looks for no such thing. Looking through the victims, one posts his results saying, “I cheated bc I knew it was something I’d never guess.” To which the bot automatically responds, “God, stop bragging. Here, take tomorrow’s word and get on with your life: XXXXX.” (I have censored the word, having spoilt the game for myself tomorrow to write this article.)

Another person said, “Agree, hardest one yet. I had no idea the word even existed,” posting his full six turns to solve it. And again, “Guess what, tomorrow’s word is XXXXX. Keep bragging, and I’ll be back every day.”

Which is just a crappy thing to do! Sure, it’s not enormously important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s taking away five minutes of pleasure from people’s days at a point when we could do with all the fives minutes we can get.

The bot seems a bit intermittent — there appear to be blasts of replies every few hours. It was temporarily suspended after it launched five days ago, but was quickly back and is still going now, while the account’s creator brags about coverage (sorry). We’ve contacted the figure behind The Wordlinator to find out their motivations, and will let you know if they get back to us.

Obviously the Curse Of Wordle will take care of them eventually. But in the short term, you might want to block the account if you’re in the habit of posting your scores to Twitter.