Not a real question – A Stack Exchange game



I have updated my game Not a real question, originally announced on Meta Stack Overflow, to retrieve the game questions via the API.


alt text


Here's the intro text from the website:

It's easy: After having chosen a site, you'll see a a button labeled "Play". As soon as you click it, you will be presented with three questions from the Stack Overflow family site of your choice. Unfortunately, there has been a mixup in the database, and the backup strategy… well, let's just say it could have been a tiny little bit better. So you have to help.

You have to find out which of the given tags, text excerpts, and vote counts belong to which question. Use your mouse to drag the tiles to their correct places.

As soon as you have a plausible solution ("plausible" doesn't mean much – just that each question has a vote count, a text excerpt, and 1 to 5 tags), you will see a large button labeled "I'm done!". If you are done, you click it. And let's hope you sorted things out correctly, because the evil hyphen site is just around the corner to fight you in the grand finale. Or not.

Not a real question used to use the data dump for creating games; now it retrieves questions through the API. This obviously means that more sites can be supported. So in addition to the four Stack Overflow Trilogy sites, you can also play a game with questions from Cooking or Gaming. I will enable other sites (any site that supports the API can easily be added) as soon as their question numbers have reached the neccessary threshold to create games.

Please note that since Not a real question now relies on external data – which is also not as easily queryable as the data dump –, creating a new game may sometimes fail (this is especially true for Cooking, because this site is on the very bottom end of the above-mentioned threshold).

So don't worry if you're given the error message that no game could be retrieved – just try again, now or later.


Not a real question runs on the Python runtime of the Google App Engine.


Not a real question is created by Benjamin Dumke. Note that this is a free-time project of mine, and has nothing to do with my employment at Stack Overflow Inc (in fact, the previous version pre-dates my employment). See my profile for contact details.


Posted 2010-08-12T15:53:20.857

Reputation: 10 464

@balpha This game can give user's reputation? I mean the game can answer the questionDanny 2016-04-06T14:24:34.870

@Danny No, you can't get reputation from the outside (and this is a completely independent project).balpha 2016-04-06T14:26:30.493

@balpha I wish can get reputation from this gameDanny 2016-04-06T14:29:26.973

2big ++ for NARQ - Liked it before, sure I will like it more.Sky Sanders 2010-08-12T16:43:31.740

+1 - very welcome update for an inspiring simple yet really entertaining game; given your new employment I've long expected this transition, free-time project or not ;) One question though: why do you have to 'add/enable' new sites? Having a threshold in place should allow for this to happen automatically in principle, no?Steffen Opel 2010-08-12T16:43:53.940

@Steffen All available sites are retrieved via StackAuth, but I'd have to query every site's own API for the number of questions on the site (StackAuth doesn't give that number). Also, the number of questions isn't all there is to it: Imagine a site with 20000 questions all having a score between 0 and 5 or with never more than three tags -- you couldn't create a game from this site. So I'll keep it manual for now -- it's simple enough to enable a new site.balpha 2010-08-12T16:53:59.523

@balpha - thanks for the explanation; real world use cases will help to refine the API for version 2.0 (or 1.x ideally ...) and fortunately Kevin has already agreed/confirmed the StackAuth routes to be designed somewhat, well, let's say preliminary (don't have the original quote handy, he might not agree entirely with this projection/translation of mine ;)Steffen Opel 2010-08-12T17:09:17.933

Haha, this is uncanny! I practically had the same idea, but in a Jeopardy format, and half-implemented it on App Engine before I switched jobs and ran out of time. Way to go!!!Soviut 2010-08-13T02:09:45.063

1Nicely done! I was going to post a bug, but as soon as I tried to replicate it, it disappeared! (Was an issue when selecting 'try a new game', it would error out due to an API issue)glasnt 2011-06-12T07:27:06.607

@glasnt: Yeah, you'll see those once in a while -- lots of applications using the API are running on the Google App Engine, so if one of them goes rogue, chances are good that this impacts NARQ as well. Glad you enjoyed it!balpha 2011-06-12T07:32:06.480

2Really fun! Votes are so hard though.timothymh 2012-03-22T23:11:04.970

awesome app - very nicely put together. yes, vote are the hardest bit to guess. appears to have a problem with extended characters (app engine limitation?)

russau 2012-04-17T05:58:08.000

@russau No, the limitation is just a lazy programmer not spending a thought on character encoding :) Thanks for pointing it out, I'll have a look. Glad you like it.balpha 2012-04-17T06:10:33.260



Sorry, retrieving a game from the API failed. Please try again.

Am I the only one who can't play?

Tomáš Zato

Posted 2010-08-12T15:53:20.857

Reputation: 303

1Just happened to me, but works after a few refreshes.Unihedron 2014-09-11T11:28:30.067

1I get this too, does not work even after refreshing a few times.JonasCz 2015-06-06T16:24:56.847


It doesn't work anymore.

Which leads to this.


Posted 2010-08-12T15:53:20.857

Reputation: 111