Twitter has banned a jerky bot that responded to people’s Wordle tweets — you know, the post-game, shareable stack of squares that shows your guessing progression — with a spoiler for the next day’s word, the Verge reported. The bot, called “The Wordlinator,” not only responded to people’s tweets with spoilers, but also said weirdly aggressive shit like “get on with your life,” “stop bragging,” and “this doesn’t make you look smart.” Very sharp stuff.
Twitter has not given a reason for the ban, but Twitter’s Automation Rules page includes the following in their “Don’t!” section: “Spam or bother users, or otherwise send them unsolicited messages.” According to the page, this includes not posting “duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account.”
How was the next day’s word even obtainable? Software engineer Robert Reichel discovered how to figure out the next day’s Wordle words, NME initially reported. In his blog, published early January, Reichel explains how to “pick apart the source code” to “reverse engineer the algorithm” in order to get the right answer. He then details the process for how to similarly reverse engineer what the next day’s Wordle solution is. It seems some disgruntled Wordle-hater used those skills for evil.
Wordle is a chill game that took took off early this year; players have six chances to guess a 5-letter word. Over the course of guessing, letters in attempted words turn yellow, green, or gray. Yellow signifies the letter is in the word but in the wrong placement, green means the letter is in the correct spot, and gray means neither is true, though that still makes it useful for process-of-elimination. After solving the day’s puzzle, you can choose to share your results — which the game makes into an easily copy-pasted grid of green, yellow, and gray squares that document your guessing history.
The game is free-to-play, accessible via browser, and a new word is only available once a day — a nice bit of anti-addictive design — and it’s the same word for everyone, which made those spoilers extra frustrating. The game’s popularity has led to shameless copycats on the iOS app store (some of which have been quietly removed). Meanwhile the developer of an older, unrelated app called Wordle has donated his unexpected proceeds to charity.
Sure, the Wordle tweets have saturated the internet, and maybe you find it a bit annoying. But if your response is to put effort into ruining random people’s fun, might I suggest logging off your fucking computer and doing something else.
Update: After the publication of this article, Twitter banned @wordlinator. We’ve edited the original copy to reflect this.