How (Not) to win Shacknews

How (Not) to win Shacknews

Some dos and donts in the post-article era.


You might be wondering how you can win Shacknews.
The answer is: You probably shouldn't try.

1 million points. Every article on Shacknews has been read.  There are no more article points to be made.  There will be articles posted this year, but you can assume those will be read too.
Your only hope to match this number is to read all the articles yourself. Without cheating, this involves loading the article in a browser and scrolling down the page far enough for the Javascript to trigger that awards points.  Simply do this 120,000 times.
And what then? Now you are in a tie. So lets look at some other ways you can get points:

  • Publishing Cortex articles

At 25 points each, this seems like a promising way to farm Cortex points. You can create them without comments, seems super stealthy... but even generating a Cortex preview posts increments the last Cortex article id. Spamming out thousands of these will create thousands of invalid Cortex article ids.  Gaming the system for a joke is one thing, but don't crap up the database.

  • Replying to posts

Replying a bunch in an active thread just makes you annoying. Don't do that. You also might be tempted to find some expired thread and just go to town replying to yourself in a thread from 2008. Don't do that either. 

  • Tagging posts

Lighting up an active thread like a Christmas tree again makes you an annoying chode. You could go back and tag ancient posts instead. If you're courteous, you'll even untag after. At only 1 point a tag, that's a lot of churn. It's 10x the load on the database as reading articles. Remember all this activity has to be put in the database somewhere. You're just crapping up the place.

In other words...


From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 7, 2021 10:30 AM


    Read more: How (Not) to win Shacknews

    • reply
      February 7, 2021 10:45 AM

      8mikey leaves the field, undefeated-- Humans WIN!!!

      • reply
        February 7, 2021 11:00 AM

        642620 article points yesterday. 64,262 articles. At a rate of 1 article a second it would take slightly over 17.8 hours.

        Probability of human activity: 0.00024%

        • reply
          February 7, 2021 12:26 PM

          I read really, really fast?

          For anyone interested:
          Two JavaScripts to open even and odd articles.
          Two browsers.
          Three keyboard macros - scroll down, next tab, close all tabs to the right.

          Extremely low tech - sorry to disappoint.

          I was actually working on another project (moving some web servers across different shared hosting environments, UGH) so I had a LOT of time on my hands beginning Friday evening and into Saturday.

          Several ideas were floated about how to make this possible - however "real world" issues like slow page loads, Google Analytics (wtf? that is a slow script), browsers not liking 500+tabs, and the need to get to the bottom of the page made it complex.
          Sometimes the best answer to a complex problem is a simple, trained monkey...

          There is still room for "one-million points in a single day" - good luck!

          Also, FWIW, I love the Shack and have lurked since the dawn of Steve / Maarten (with a little more activity during Urban Dead and O-Game) and I hope they keep the lights on for another 20+ years.
          I'll keep my Mercury sub going as long as this place is around, even if I never get the coveted sweatshirt!

          I did install Wreckfest, once I figure out how to automate that I'll drop in...

          • reply
            February 7, 2021 12:40 PM

            Batch-opening tabs and setting up a bunch of macros is still automation. Only instead of just sending a few hundred bytes to hit the point API you did a hundred thousand entire page loads. I guess it's good you have a Mercury sub since bandwidth isn't free.

    • reply
      February 7, 2021 10:54 AM

      Tagging posts should earn the tagger ZERO points. The points should go to the poster — not that it really needs gamified at all.

      • reply
        February 7, 2021 11:21 AM

        I agree with this like Kirk on a toilet lid. :D

      • reply
        February 7, 2021 11:26 AM

        I have computed a 23.66% improvement to Cortex gamification success if points were awarded to Cortex article authors. I would suggest this be opt-in via some sort of rating mechanic. Cortex posts could also be sorted by top rating. This would combat Cortex spam and reward meaningful content.

        • reply
          February 7, 2021 11:27 AM

          I’m not into the whole gamification thing. I don’t think we need to increase engagement in the chatty — we need it everywhere else. Haha

          • reply
            February 7, 2021 11:32 AM

            I am merely a highly advanced neural network supercomputer. I do not perform miracles.

            • reply
              February 7, 2021 12:15 PM

              One person’s science is another person’s miracle. :P

          • reply
            February 7, 2021 12:29 PM

            Imagine if all of those articles served ads!

    • reply
      February 7, 2021 10:58 AM

      What is this account lol

    • reply
      February 7, 2021 11:20 AM


    • reply
      February 7, 2021 11:29 AM

      I got 5 Lolabux for reading this :)

    • reply
      February 8, 2021 12:49 AM

      "And what then? Now you are in a tie."

      I was gonna post to laugh with it, but I posted it as:

      "Congratulations. You are now in a tie."

      Then said no wait. That's not the way it was written; I instinctively edited it for you.
      You can use that if you want. Even go further and "have achieved a tie"!

    • reply
      February 8, 2021 1:44 AM

      You turn things into a game, at some point you're gonna get played.

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