Scott Hardie | April 12, 2005
I just wanted to give notice that I have altered the Goo Rules as they pertain to cheating. (link) I can now optionally suspend a player or players if I discover evidence of their cheating. It's my call as to how long they're suspended or even whether they get suspended in the first place. Honestly, I think it's unlikely that this change will have real consequences (if this rule had been around last month when Hideo Takarai's identity was revealed, I still wouldn't have suspended anyone involved), but I am currently implementing a few new technological safeguards against cheating, and I didn't want it to be a big surprise to y'all if I catch somebody trying it and suspend their ass.

Steve Dunn | April 13, 2005
How can you cheat on the Goo Game except by sharing answers? And if you're willing to share answers to cheat on the Goo Game... well... isn't daily life already punishment enough?

Someone please reassure me. I mean, people don't cheat... do they? On THIS game?

Scott Hardie | April 13, 2005
I would answer your first question but I don't want to give anybody any ideas. :-) There are a number of ways to cheat alone, and you don't have to be a haxx0r to use them.

I would hope people wouldn't cheat. But then, I think of the game as just being some minor daily fun, zero stakes. I'm surprised how many people take the competition of it so seriously. So, it's conceivable that some people are cheating or trying to cheat.

I noticed you have kept quiet in my Tom DeLay discussion, Steve. (link) As you know the law six gajillion times better than me, give or take a gajliion, I wondered if you might have some input on the subject.

Amy Austin | April 13, 2005
I'm not sure I agree that you don't have to be a hacker to cheat here, Scott -- at least, I know *I'm* not savvy/sophisticated enough to know of another way.

I agree with Steve -- not only am I puzzled about how to do it, but I also can't see how it could possibly be rewarding enough to pursue. I, personally, derive too much satisfaction from finding the answers on my own (and trying to be the only one to do it) to resort to other means.

Of course, I may as well bring up that the only reason I feel compelled to address the subject is the fact that not only am I the last round winner and currently tied in the lead in this round, but my husband is also in that tie. And I believe that he feels more concern over this fact than I do, because it is a topic that comes up between us quite frequently... especially when our correct guesses are only minutes apart. Since I know that we aren't cheating, I don't sweat it, but now that the subject has come up, I am feeling a bit more uncomfortable as a round leader, as is E.

In the last round, he lost quite a bit of interest in finishing after he made a "torpedo" mistake, but I pestered him to play anyway. His final guesses were sporadic, at best, and when I was in the tiebreaker mode, he felt compelled to remark that he didn't have anything to do with it after a few shady (but light-hearted, I'm sure) comments that were made about my ability to get hard goos.

Now that we are in a fresh round (and now that he realizes there are other reasons to guess besides winning the round -- i.e., Goo Streaker, etc.), he is playing a fierce game, which makes it much more fun for me, because competition is (perhaps a bit too much) the nature of our marriage. We are both serious competitors who can't resist a good challenge. And I *know* that neither of us wants to "throw the game" due to outside pressure and/or implications of cheating... especially me!

Today, though, he mentioned that he may delete his account, attributing it to the demands of his new position and new command and stating that he didn't have the time to waste on finding goos. I hope that he won't do that and will continue to get his ass whooped by me. I'm not sure what he might say about my commenting on this, but I would rather bring the concern out into the light on here than to continue to hear him express worry that Scott is going to arbitrarily suspend us based on our standings alone and the fact that we are in the same household. I surely hope that wouldn't happen, but since I know that e-mails of all nature seem to find their way to Scott, then I do acknowledge that E may not be off-target in mentioning it time and again. I can assure you, however, that neither of us has enough computer awareness to know of any ways to cheat other than combined research. And on that note, we have both been known to hide the screen from the other when doing our sleuthing.

Point is, if we are suspect, then I think we'd both rather just leave the site altogether. I don't have any suspicions of other players cheating, but then I suppose Scott can see things on his end that the rest of us cannot. I hope that this is indeed the case.

Scott Hardie | April 13, 2005
No need to worry, Amy. High scores are no implication whatsoever that somebody is cheating – after all, somebody always has to be in the lead. I suppose your competitiveness with E on this site could all be part of some diabolical plot to trick us into trusting you, but trust you I do: You two seem much too competitive around here to have helped each other with answers. :-) I have no suspicion at all that either of you are doing something to get ahead that you shouldn't be doing.

Besides, I need evidence to believe somebody is cheating, not just a gut feeling. That evidence is either going to come from a cheater (or conspirator thereof) admitting what happened, or an alarm going off in my code because somebody is trying to manipulate the database in a non-hacker way. Take my word for it, there are ways for you to get the answer without knowing a thing about hacking, but hopefully I've programmed in enough safeguards to block those methods from working, and/or alert me when somebody tries one.

Here's one example. If you're stumped on a certain goo, wait until a few minutes before it expires, then open the "Current Goos" page and scroll down to that goo at the bottom. After midnight passes, open a new browser window and look at the newly-revealed answer on the "Previous Goos" page. Then go back to the still-open "Current Goos" page in the other window, fill in the right answer on the form, and submit. It's a good thing my site checks (and has always checked) to make sure that the goo you're guessing is still current, because that's a simple trick that anybody could try.

Ed is a great player with one of the highest enthusiasm levels of any player active right now. I'd hate to lose him. I don't understand why he would delete his account instead of keeping it active for future play, but as I said above, players sometimes take the competition much more strongly than I can understand. One friend of mine guesses religiously at the start of the round, but as soon as he misses one or two goos, he stops cold until the next round. He's simply not interested in playing unless he can win. I can grasp that feeling in some games, I suppose, but not this game. :-\

Amy Austin | April 13, 2005
Well, good to hear it... I feel better, and he probably will, too. I never would have thought to do that (opening a new window at expiration time)... but it's pretty clever! I guess you have given me ideas now... ;-D

Michael Paul Cote | April 13, 2005
Hey Scott,
Do you have a link for the lawsuit mentioned in the latest goo? I'd like to find out about it. Thanks.

Scott Hardie | April 13, 2005
Sent.

E. M. | April 14, 2005
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Patrick Little | April 15, 2005
Does working on Goos relax you? Do you work on Goos to the exclusion of everything else? If the answer is yes to the first one and no to the second one, you probably should continue doing it. You will be more productive with some recreation. I have discovered this the hard way. Just some unsolicited advice...

Scott Hardie | April 15, 2005
I agree with Patrick. My family and my friends tried to tear me down for years for spending so much of my free time working this damn web site, but all that work has changed my life for the better. You'll never get a career researching goos unless you can subsist on Amazon gift certificates every few months :-), but the skills you gain in research, not to mention the high vocabulary of influential people that you'll develop, might prove someday to be of considerable value. More value, anyway, than watching "Joey."

Jackie Mason | April 16, 2005
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E. M. | April 16, 2005
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Erik Bates | April 16, 2005
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E. M. | April 16, 2005
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Erik Bates | April 17, 2005
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Kris Weberg | April 17, 2005
I was raised by a cup of coffee!

Scott Hardie | April 17, 2005
Erik's right; it's a bug in my code that I've known about for some time. I gotta fix it.

Erik Bates | April 17, 2005
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E. M. | April 17, 2005
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Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
My father was a song from the sixties!

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
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Aaron Shurtleff | April 18, 2005
OK, I'll possibly reveal myself as uncultured dumbass....

What in Bob's name is all those posts at the end supposed to mean? Does it have something to do with the yellow cartoon character? I'm not sure what's going on anymore...

Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
No. It's more glitches in my code. (I've really got to get those fixed.)

Amy Austin | April 18, 2005
So Erik didn't really just say that he was captain of the gravy train, and Kris wasn't raised by a cup of coffee... these are just glitches??? (I'm with you, Aaron -- witch or no, I have no fucking idea what they're talking about...)

Aaron Shurtleff | April 18, 2005
Scott, I don't believe you...but I did have to think about that. Shame on you!

Amy Austin | April 18, 2005
HAHA!

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
[hidden by request]

Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
Your computer has too much computer and not enough typewriter in it.

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
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